The commercial production of more than 90 crops, ranging from nuts to berries to flowering vegetables- requires insect pollination. In the past 50 years, the volume of agricultural production reliant on pollinators increased by 300%. World Bee Day highlights the importance of pollinators to improve the conditions for their survival so that bees and other pollinators may thrive to ensure the success of the agricultural industry and enhance food security across the globe. With our experience in the industrial agriculture industry, we must support honey bee health and promote sustainable honey exaction processes and techniques.
Bees are some of the most important pollinators, ensuring food security, sustainable agriculture, and biodiversity. In addition, they significantly contribute to mitigating climate change and the conservation of the environment. About one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds, to name just a few.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service, honey bees made 157 million pounds of honey in 2019, a little over $339 million. But the most significant importance of honey bees to agriculture is their work as crop pollinators. This agricultural value of honeybees is estimated to be between 10 and 20 times the total honey and beeswax value. As a result, bee pollination accounts for about $15 billion in added crop value.
Honey is the most well-known and economically important hive product. Bees produce six hive products – honey, pollen, royal jelly, beeswax, propolis, and venom. After honey, beeswax is the second most crucial hive product and is one of the most used waxes in cosmetics. For example, beeswax is used as a binding agent, time-release mechanism, and as a drug carrier in the pharmaceutical industry. Beeswax was among the first plastics to be used and is famous for making candles, artists’ materials, and wood polishes; and is a major ingredient for many military applications.
Honeybee’s population has risen 45% since the 1960s, but the industry has experienced severe losses. Adult bees have been disappearing from colonies since 2006 due to poor nutrition, pesticides, parasites, and pathogens in the USA. In addition, there have been numerous reports of bee poisoning caused by people misusing crop protection products. With improved pollination management and operation system, crop yields could be further increased by about 25%, contributing significantly to world food security and nutrition for the rapidly growing global population.
Infrastructure costs may be the highest expenditures for a beekeeping operation. Industrial beekeeping facilities need to be secure, weatherproof, and bee-proof. Commercial honey production necessitates complex operational equipment in a honey house like honey-extraction equipment, wax-processing equipment, a hot-water system for heating tanks and warming room, pumps, and equipment for moving and storing products. Separate packaging rooms for bottling, labeling, and packing with specialized equipment such as bottling tanks, filter systems, barrel heaters, labelers, honey buckets, or jars are necessary for filling rooms. Honey houses must meet food safety guidelines and should be designed to prevent sawdust and other debris from contaminating honey or stored equipment.
Automated equipment is available at every stage of the process and allows for improved pollination management and production for this essential species indispensable to U.S. agriculture and world food security.
Plus Groups own Dan Clevenger, apart from being our Subject Matter Expert in Grain Processing, VP of Business Development, and Principal, also harvest bee’s at at his farm in Ohio. Currently Dan has four hives consisting of Italian Honey Bees and Russian Honey Bee’s. (See below)
Interesting Fact: It takes 200 bees their lifetime (app. 30 days) to make a teaspoon of honey.