Cornell University’s Department of Entomology researchers recorded via sweep net collections what types of bees are visiting hemp flowers on 11 farms in New York state in the Finger Lakes area. They found 16 bee species, with 60% of them being Apis mellifera, the European honeybee, and 30% being Bombas impatiens, the common eastern bumblebee.
This indicates that an abundance of bee species enjoy hemp, and the taller the plant the better, as these attracted nearly 17 times the number compared to short plants since they have more pollen and are easier to access.
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Hemp can provide bees with vital nutrition when flowers are scarce, and therefore may help sustain pollination for other crops as well. Bees particularly visited hemp in late summer after flowers from other late-season crops wilted.
The study indicated that hemp should be reassessed for its role to support bee communities and the fact bees like it.
The study also informed that since bees and other insects no longer have cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoids like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in hemp pollen and cannabis pollen is unlikely to impact bee development. The study is called “The Bee Community of Cannabis sativa and Corresponding Effects on Landscape Composition” and can be found in the journal Environmental Entomology.
We blogged about Bees and Cannabis not long ago. If you missed that post, you can read it by clicking on the link.