Bees aren’t just living the high life because they’re flying around all the time – it turns out the insects love cannabis.
They don’t gravitate towards it for the same reason as humans though; the bees apparently just really like its pollen.
The discovery was made by researchers at Cornell University, who found that the taller the cannabis plants are and the larger area they cover, the more bees will be attracted to them.
To be precise, the bees were 17 times more likely to go to a taller plant than shorter ones.
Part of the study explained, ‘Plant height was strongly correlated with bee species richness and abundance for hemp plots with taller varieties attracting a broader diversity of bee species.’
It continued, ‘Because of its temporally unique flowering phenology, hemp has the potential to provide a critical nutritional resource to a diverse community of bees during a period of floral scarcity and thereby may help to sustain agroecosystem-wide pollination services for other crops in the landscape.’
The bees may really like cannabis plants’ pollen, but don’t be expecting to see any super-buzzed bees anytime soon, as it turns out they don’t have any cannabinoid receptors, the thing that makes you high from the plant, reported Vice.
The findings came as a surprise to many, as traditionally bees are attracted to brightly-coloured plants with sweet nectar – two things cannabis plants do not have.
However, bees liking these plants could prove extremely useful for its population. Many plants need pesticides to help them grow, something that has played a part in the decline in bees’ numbers, but cannabis plants reportedly don’t need the help of pesticides very often, making it safer for bees to extract their pollen.
This works in our favour, as bees are responsible for the cross-pollination of flowers that furthers the growth of the fruits and vegetables that we as humans need to survive.
With this in mind, the study states that ‘growers, land managers, and policy makers should consider its value in supporting bee communities and take its attractiveness to bees into account when developing pest management strategies’.
This isn’t the only good bee-related news to happen this year. Back in June it was reported that honeybees were doing much better in numbers compared to the year prior.
Between October 1 2019 to April 1 2020, the honeybee only lost 22.2% of all managed bee colonies in the US, compared to the previous winter of 2018-2019 when a record 37.7% of colonies died off.