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The bee is at the heart of a curious equation the elements of which are set out below:
The bee lives from foraging, meaning it seeks nectar and pollen in open spaces, whether public or private, and outside the control of the beekeeper. In this way, the bee fundamentally depends on the cultural practices of fruit-tree growers and forestry, although the beekeeping activity as a whole represents only a fraction of these economic sectors.
Bees play a part in the pollination of both wild and cultivated plants whose nectar and pollen they collect. This pollinating activity is essential for many cultivated plants (80% of species). As such, the bee is by far the most efficient pollinating insect. It is a fundamental player in maintaining plant biodiversity.
Fruit-growers know this well because they hire the services of beekeepers who bring in their hives so the bees may pollinate the orchards where they are placed. It is interesting to note that a month of pollinating fruit trees has little impact in terms of the volume of honey produced.
In conclusion: less bee foraging => less pollination of wild and cultivated plants => lower yields for non-cereal crops and a reduction in biodiversity.
On a more positive note, the improvement of the biotope of bees and their health conditions would:
- boost biodiversity and yields of plant species
- shore up an economic sector that is beneficial for the environment
- allow the maintenance and creation of productive rural jobs
- reduce dependence on imports