A VIABLE GLOBAL SOLUTION
We care deeply about two of the biggest and far-reaching environmental and social issues facing the world’s growing population: food security and food justice. Food security is the ability for us to have access to healthy and affordable food and food justice is the ethics of how our food is raised.
An easy, affordable, and sustainable solution to growing more food, and in a sustainable way, is to turn to our native bee pollinators. Native pollinators around the world have been pollinating flowers and fruits for the past 125+ million years. Native bees are the best pollinators for their local flowers and they are in tune with their homeland’s temperature and weather cycles.
Of the world’s 20,000+ bee species, about 30% nest in preexisting cavities. These native hole-nesting bees are easy-to-raise because it’s easy for us to duplicate their nesting sites and place their cocoons in new homes wherever they are needed.
One of our goals is for countries around the world to begin raising their local, native hole-nesting bees. Turning to local hole-nesting bees is cheaper, easier, safer, and more sustainable than relying solely on non-native bee pollinators. No expensive equipment is needed to handle cocoons of hole-nesting bees and the bees require no care overwinter beyond protection from predators. Farmers and growers simply need to know the nesting hole diameter and the proper nesting materials needed to raise their hole-nesting bees of choice.
Supporting and raising a variety of bees has been shown to ensure pollination which improves crop quality and increases crop production. Simply introducing a pollinator can raise production by 25% without resorting to dangerous fertilizers or other chemicals. Higher yields means more product for farmers to earn their livings and more food for local people that is affordable and locally available.
Developing a way to raise alternative managed pollinators is a forward-thinking solution to a recent horizon scan of issues facing our world’s pollinators. We should begin learning how to raise the world’s hole-nesting bees in order to improve our portfolio of managed bees.
A healthy variety of bees includes managed bees and non-managed wild bees as well. About 70% of the world’s bee species nest underground and their nesting homes are difficult to reproduce. We might not be able to manage them right now but we should do what we can to support them. Wildflowers for forage, providing undisturbed soil, and leaving areas wild will provide nesting habitat for ground-nesting and hole-nesting bees.
Learning how to raise and manage native hole-nesting bees is an easy and affordable way to empower farmers worldwide while growing better food for more people.