The humble honey bee is such an important part of our food chain, not only in Australia but worldwide. Without their amazing ability to pollinate our crops, we would be extremely limited to our food source. The Wheen Bee Foundation of Australia, claims that “two-thirds of Australia’s agricultural output is dependent on honey bees”. There have been a lot of studies over the years that can support this claim. A significant difference in a crop output and the quality of that output is greatly improved with the presence of bees hard at work. So what can we take from that? Planting to attract them is a vital part of growing produce at home.
The pollination process
Many crops that we grow at home need bees to pollinate the flowers and perform the vital reproduction process. The pollinating process is performed by more than just bees however they are known as the head pollinators. Other pollinators include birds, bats, insects, the wind, and even water.
As a bee collects from the flowers, some of the pollen from the male reproductive part of the flower is transferred to the next flower. It’s here that it’s rubbed onto the female organ of the new flower. This is the fertilisation process, and from this fruit carrying seeds can develop.
Some plants which attract bees include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
Nature has an amazing way of adapting to what it needs because over time, plants have found a way to attract bees to them. They do this by producing more of an open, flat tubular flower with lots of pollen and nectar. These flowers also produce a ‘bee attracting’ scent. They use bright colours to signal to them they have the goods.
It’s said that flowers which get regular visits by bees will produce more uniformed and larger produce. It’s more obvious in fruit that is grown on trees.
There are lots of different ways you can offer them, and other beneficial insects, a long-term lease in your family veggie patch. One of these is by creating a habitat for them to reside. Why not make one today? Check out our easy Insect Hotel tutorial here.
http://www.bees.techno-science.ca/english/bees/what-is-a-bee/default.php [Accessed 20th April 2017]
http://honeybee.org.au/pdf/PollinationAwareFactSheet.pdf [Accessed 20th April 2017]
http://www.wheenbeefoundation.org.au/about-bees-and-pollination/ [Accessed 20th April 2017]