The Effect of Pollinators on Agriculture

A Guest Blog Post by our own Rachel Sofaer

Pollinators are possibly the most important factor to our food production system. They allow humans to grow and consume a variety of foods. Within this group of pollinators, bees contribute to approximately 1/3 of every bite of food we eat. They do this bay transferring pollen between crops, as they forage for their own food.

This symbiotic relationship provides some of our most popular foods, such as blueberries, avocado, coffee, and almonds. In fact, more than 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants need a pollinator in order to reproduce.

Most of the food humans consume is from flowering plants, meaning we rely on pollinators. Pollinators are a “keystone species,” which means they are crucial to biodiversity and ecosystem function in most ecosystems. Therefore, the current threats to pollinators are threats to entire ecosystems.

Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are beginning to use conservation solutions to combat these dangers to pollinators on their land. Studies have shown that pollination results in better quality produce and may even prevent pests from attacking crops. People are starting to understand that when pollinators flourish, humans flourish as well.

Different types of bees, but mostly honeybees, are kept by commercial beekeepers to serve the agriculture industry. Beekeepers take their hives to a field for a few days or a few weeks to pollinate the farmer’s crops. The ecological service of pollinators is valued at 200 billion dollars each year in the U.S. This includes their crucial part in creating more profitable yields on agricultural lands.

The well-being of bees, humans, and ecosystems is the reason we invented the Beehome. The Beehome is the world’s first autonomous beehive, which allows beekeepers to remotely take care of their bees. With the use of AI, computer vision, and precision robotics, we are able to monitor the beehive to make sure the bees are not only surviving, but thriving. Some of these bees will go on to pollinate the agricultural crops that humans will be putting on their tables. Now that’s what we call a mutually beneficial relationship.

References:

https://www.farmers.gov/connect/blog/conservation/value-birds-and-bees

https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pollinator-week-factsheet-06.25.2020.pdf

https://kansasruralcenter.org/pollinators/

https://agamerica.com/top-10-pollinators-in-agriculture/

To Bee or Not To Be