What is pollination and why Honey Bees are Important Pollinators

Do you know what is Pollination and why is it important? Frankly speaking, I heard of this term but I don’t really know what it is before, I went on to do some research on this term as it was known that Honey Bees are important pollinators.


I would like to share an article that I found with you that provides useful information on the term Pollination and it also provide a insight on why Honey Bees are consider as one of the important pollinators.


First of all, let answer some of the questions that you may have in mind using the content of the articles.


What is pollination?

Pollination is the movement of male pollen to the female part of the flower (stigma), the first step in successful seed and fruit production by the plant. Self-pollination is when pollen is transferred from the anther to the stigma within a single plant. Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen from one plant to the stigma of another plant.

What happen after pollination occur?

Once the plant has been pollinated, the male contribution fuses with the egg in the ovary, the process known as fertilization. After fertilization, the fruit and seeds develop and mature.

Why is there a need for cross pollination, can’t the flower just perform self-pollination?

Although the male parts and female parts usually reside in a single flower, plants often have elaborate mechanisms to prevent self-fertilization. In some species the stigma of the flower ripens first, before the anthers are shedding pollen. Thus, it can be fertilized only by pollen brought from an older flower. In other plants, the opposite is true. The pollen is mature and shed before the stigma ripens. Other plants, such as squashes or watermelons, have separate male and female flowers. A few plants, such as mulberry or olive, have separate male plants and female plants.


What happen if there is no pollination?

Taking apple tree for example, apples start as flowers on the apple tree. Without pollination, the flowers would bloom and then wither and drop without ever having a chance to become an apple. For a flower to become an apple, the pollen that is produced by the flowers on one apple tree must be transferred to the flowers on another tree. Moving pollen between flowers is called cross-pollination.


What are the ways of performing cross pollination?

Some plants, for example grasses, produce light pollen grains that may be carried by the wind or water from plant to plant. Other plants need help from insects, birds, or bats for successful pollination. Without this assistance, fruit and/or seeds would not be formed. In fact, about a third of the food Americans eat is the direct result of pollination by insects.



Why Honey Bees are consider one of the most important pollinators?

Although some of these crops are pollinated by bee species other than honey bees, honeybees are the only ones that can be easily managed, moved around and are known to exploit a wide variety of crops. While a worker bee is in flower gathering nectar, pollen from the anther often sticks to her hairy body. Because the bee generally visits a number of the same type of flower in a patch, she will rub some of the pollen off onto the stigma of another flower and complete pollination. Some flowers such as orchids have elaborate mechanisms to make sure bees are dusted with pollen when they visit.
Another part of the reason honey bees are so important as pollinators is that they actively seek out flowers with pollen, unlike pollinators such as bats and humming birds who are primarily interested in nectar. Pollen stored in the hive is used as a source of protein in feeding the developing larvae.



What happen if the Bee only stays on the same tree, how does pollen get moves between different trees so the cross pollination occurs?

What was discovered is that honey bees can spread pollen to other bees in the hive. If you ever watched honey bees in a hive, you would see that they touch one another almost constantly. If part of the honey bees in a hive are visiting Granny Smith apple trees and part are visiting Red Delicious trees, there is a good chance that both types of pollen will be on the bodies of most bees in the hive. Cross-pollination can occur when a honey bee that has Red Delicious pollen on its body that it obtained from other bees in the hive, is visiting Granny Smith flowers. The Red Delicious pollen will be deposited on to the first few Red Delicious flowers that the bee visits, and those flowers will have a good chance of becoming apples.



For the article, please go to the following link.

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