The Vital Role of Honey Bees in Enhancing Sustainable Agriculture
04 Nisan 2024, Perşembe - 14:53
Güncelleme: 16 Nisan 2024, Salı - 15:22
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Dr. Selim Bıyık, a faculty member of the Zootechnics Department at Ondokuz Mayıs University's (OMU) Faculty of Agriculture, emphasized the significant role honey bees play in sustainable agriculture.

Speaking to an AA correspondent, Dr. Bıyık discussed how bee products like honey, pollen, and propolis are considered sources of healing.

Highlighting these products' economic value and global economic contributions, Dr. Bıyık said, "Beyond their direct products, honey bees contribute to the sustainability of plants through pollination and the pollination of natural flora. In this sense, they significantly impact the global economy. Honey bees are believed to create greater economic value through pollination than from their direct products."

Dr. Bıyık also mentioned using honey bee colonies in greenhouse cultivation for pollination purposes. "Of course, honey bees are not the only pollinators. Other insects and wind also play roles in pollination, but honey bees are the most significant factor due to their colony size and pollen being a food source. Commercial greenhouse growers often rent honey bee colonies for pollination in their operations. Similarly, open field agricultural producers rent colonies to enhance pollination."

The Necessity of Pollination for Nature's Sustainability

Dr. Bıyık highlighted that the rate of colony losses in honey bees has been increasing since the 1860s due to various factors, including diseases linked to the Varroa mite, viral infections, American and European foulbrood, other bee diseases, environmental pollution, chemical usage in agriculture, increased fertilizer use, water pollution, global warming, and radio frequency emissions from cell towers. "The most widely accepted reason for bee colony deaths is the simultaneous occurrence of several of these factors, which stresses the colonies and leads to worker bees abandoning the hive," he explained.

Dr. Bıyık stressed the implications of reduced pollination on plant production aimed at human consumption, noting potential decreases in both quantity and quality. "Additionally, the sustainability of the natural flora is at risk because pollination is essential for binding flowers, fruits, and seeds, which are crucial for nature's sustainability. Honey bees contribute significantly to this pollination process."

Despite the challenges, Dr. Bıyık noted significant growth in colony numbers over the last 60-70 years, underscoring that "In Turkey, the number of colonies has increased by about 60-70% in the last 15 years. Consequently, our country's honey production has reached around 120,000 tons due to this increase in colony numbers."

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