Insect Pollination of Cultivated Crop Plants

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In a study of the beekeeping industry, Anderson (1969) concluded that the decline in the number of colonies of honey bees from 5.9 million in 1947 to 4.8 in 1966 was attributable to the low rate of return on the invested capital. Some beekeepers have tried to increase production by moving their colonies from one honey flow to another, a practice started as early as 1895 (Zierner 1932). At that time, apiaries in California were moved by wagon from the desert sage and wild buckwheat to the cultivated lima bean fields. Today, thousands of colonies are moved hundreds of miles each year to several different floral sources. Anderson reported that others have tried to supplement their honey sales through the placement of their colonies in fields for pollination, but few could indicate that a profit was made.

Authors: 
S. E. McGregor
Publisher: 
USDA ARS
Year: 
2009