Laurence Packer loves bees. "Passion is a bit of an understatement, maybe I’m obsessed," he tells us. His book, Keeping the Bees: Why All Bees are at Risk and What We Can Do to Save Them, explores what exactly bees do and why its so important that we protect them. In today’s interview he explains how pollination can affect fruit and vegetable crops:
"A nice, economically valuable watermelon that’s large and quite round and not malformed requires a couple of thousand pollen grains to be deposited. And that might require seven or so different visits of a bee to the flower.
In California, where these studies have been done in the most detail, there are 40 different species of bees that will perform that service. If not enough pollen gets onto the watermelon you get a [misshapen] one. And if you don’t get any pollen, you don’t get any watermelon at all.
Some crops are entirely dependent upon pollination. Others don’t require pollinators at all, such as cereal grains. Others are pollinated by the wind, such as grapes. But most of the tastiest products from plants — such as most fruits and vegetables — these require pollination for the development for the fruit or the vegetable, or at least for the propagation of the vegetable plants through seeds.”
Photos: Sam Droege/Flickr and Wayne Boo/Flickr