The plight of the honeybee is a global concern. All over the world, the agricultural sector is heavily reliant on bee pollination, impacting on crop quantity and quality. In South Africa, the macadamia sector is rapidly expanding to meet market demands and it is progressively demanding more from managed bee pollination services. Good bee forage is scarce to absent when crops such as macadamia isn’t flowering, which leads to little sustenance for bees and other pollinators for large parts of the year. In addition, having a balanced diet from a variety of floral sources during the pollination season ensures healthier more effective colonies.
If the selection of bee forage plants are carefully chosen, they can be planted as windbreaks, along access roads, on rocky outcrops and on slopes where crops and trees cannot be viably planted. It is therefore possible for most landowners to supply space for bee forage plants without having to give up valuable farmland.
It is critical for growers to realise their role in securing their current and future pollination demands by providing additional bee forage for managed and wild honey bee colonies. Responsible planting of non-invasive bee forage plants will enable some bee populations to persist throughout the year.