Pollination, both in farming and in nature, are easily the two most important functions honeybees provide. From a purely economic stand point, estimates range into the tens of billions of dollars in the United States alone. Quite simply, a huge portion of the crops our society relies upon would be greatly reduced or eliminated entirely in the absence of honeybees.

While not native to North America, honeybees do pollinate many native plant species along with their wild/native cousins. While there are those that aggressively campaign against any introduced species and a reversion to complete pre-human state, this is frankly impractical without massive human suffering and collapse of many modern ecosystems. However, there are efforts we can take to help native species of all sorts co-exist with our agricultural needs and I hope to explore them in upcoming blog posts here and in other online communities.

So, what is pollination anyway?

“At the most basic level, pollination is the way plants achieve fertilization and genetic diversity. Pollination occurs when pollen grains from the male part of one flower (anther) are transferred to the female part (stigma) of another flower. Once pollination occurs, the fertilized flowers produce seeds, which enable the associated plant to reproduce and/or form fruit.”

Many plant species have means that do not require animals/insects, such as wind-born pollen, while others hedge their bets by utilizing multiple methods, but many rely entirely on animal/insect pollinators. In this way, they are symbiotic with their pollinators.

Many large beekeeping operations actually make as much or more money from their pollination services, as they do from producing honey or other products. They move vast numbers of hives between orchards and farms during critical pollination periods. Additionally, this allows them to produce specialty, single-nectar honeys, drive their honey costs down and enjoy multiple honey harvests in a single year. This, along with the economy of scale, is the main reason you’ll see such a large price difference between “grocery shelf” honey and small, local apiaries.

Dear Community

It is with deep regrets and sadness that I must announce there will be no honey harvest this year. The usual challenges of beekeeping, coupled with the increasingly erratic climate since Winter have been really hard on the hives this year and there will not be a harvest-able surplus. Thank you for all your support in the past, we hope to be able to bounce back next season.