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Crop yield courtesy of bees

A large proportion of agricultural yield in crop farming, gardening and fruit production depends on pollination by bees. The crop yield is significantly higher with pollination by bees. This applies to all kinds of fruit such as apples, strawberries and cherries, almost all oilseeds such as rapeseed, linseed and safflower, and all kinds of vegetables such as beans, peas and cucumbers. The seed production of fodder crops and vegetables also benefits from bee pollination.

Whether strawberries or cherries, radishes or kohlrabi, without the honey bee our food would be less varied and not as appetising. For example, if apple blossom is not sufficiently pollinated, parts of the fruit remain underdeveloped, and “wonky”, lopsided fruits form. If currants are not visited enough by bees, the berries remain small and the bunches only consist of a small number of fruit. If strawberries are not pollinated, the berries remain small and misshapen. The flowers that are pollinated by bees form fruit that is much larger, heavier and better shaped. They are also much better quality.
As well as fruit and vegetables, bees also play a crucial role in animal feed and therefore every piece of meat we consume. Without their pollination there would be no clover, and rapeseed would be of poorer quality. Rapeseed cultivated densely over a large area, as is common today, is indeed pollinated by wind, but only the additional pollination by bees optimises its quality. It has been observed that pollination of rapeseed by bees has led to an increase in yield of approx. 25 per cent. For the farmer this is an increase in yield of about 1,000 kg per hectare.

To explain the impact on our daily diet, it is worth taking a look at breakfast. Assuming that a person eats a bread roll with 20 grams of strawberry jam on each half every day for breakfast, this amounts to 1,200 grams in a month: approximately 3.5 jars of jam. Without bees, there would be 60 per cent fewer strawberries. This would mean that, instead of 1,200 grams, there would only be 480 grams of jam available or 1.4 jars. That would only be enough for 24 bread roll halves or 12 days of breakfast.