What is Pollination?
Pollination (n): the transfer of pollen from anther to stigma
Put simply, pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male organs of one flower to the female organs of another flower. Many plants rely on the services of pollinators (insects, birds, reptiles and some mammals) to achieve this fertilization process and produce fruit.
The interaction of pollinators with their environment ensures that eco-systems, both natural and cultivated, are maintained in perfect balance.
Why are Bees Good Pollinators?
Bees are renown as one of nature’s champion pollinators. Their reliability and efficiency as pollinators is due to the fact that they actually need flowers: pollen produced by flowers provides bees with essential fats and proteins, while nectar offers a complex source of sugars necessary to ensure the lifecycle of the hive.
The demands of the colony ensure that worker bees spend most of their lives foraging from flower to flower, collecting pollen then taking it back to the hive. When a bee lands on a flower, pollen sticks to the tiny hairs on it’s body and is transferred to the next flower it visits. In this way, the bee collects it’s food source while providing an extremely effective and natural fertilization process for the plants it relies on.
How Important is Pollination?
Pollination has many benefits to humans, with the most obvious being sufficient food supply. In fact, it’s estimated that three out of every four crops grown for human consumption rely on pollination to some extent to produce the fruit or seeds.
Pollination is also essential for the production of fodder crops for animal consumption, which in turn effects our supply of meat and other animal products.