Honeybees play a major role in improving the yield due to cross-pollination in addition to their byproducts like honey and bee wax. Bees are the most efficient pollinators on account of following assets:
1. Bee colonies can be moved to areas, which require pollination.
2. Each colony contains large populations of foragers to work on crop plants.
3. Bees usually work on only one type of flower on each trip (floral fidelity).
4. As honeybees are efficient pollinating agents, by using pheromone sprays bees can be attracted to pollinate the crops to significantly increase the yield.
It is the horticultural practice that enhances the pollination of a crop, to improve yield or quality. The largest managed pollination event in the world is in California almonds, where nearly, half (about one million hives) of the U.S. honeybees are transported by trucks to the almond orchards each spring. It has been reported that New York's apple crop requires about 30,000 beehives; Maine's blueberry crop uses about 50,000 beehives each year. Bees are also brought to commercial plantings of cucumbers, squash, melons, strawberries, and many other crops. Thus, the management techniques of a beekeeper providing pollination service are different and somewhat incompatible, compared to a beekeeper who is trying to produce honey. The farmers only option in the current economy is to bring beehives to the field during blossom time.
In many tropical countries in the forest honeydew may not be available for honeybees on account of high density of ants. The ants feed on the honey dew and probably do not allow the bees to collect it. The knowledge of honeybee-foraging plants provides important information to bee keepers for apiary sites where floral resources are plentiful. Their information will boost the bee keeping industry. In turn this will lead to increase in honey production and other byproducts such as beeswax and propolis for local consumption and export. The melissopalynoligists can make recommendations for planting and conservation of bee-foraging plants.
The U.S. solution to the pollinator shortage, so far, has been for commercial beekeepers to become pollination contractors and to migrate. Beekeepers follow the bloom from south to north, to provide pollination for many different crops.
In Europe some 16 honey types are recognized, derived from Acer, Brassica, Calluna, Castanea, Cirsium, Epilobium (Chamaenerion), Erica, Filipendula, Ligustium, Myosotis, Prunus/Pyrus, Salix, Sambucus, Trifolium and Vicia.
Three honeydew honeys are derived from Pinus, Quercus and Tilia. In North America (U.S.A. and Canada), some 13 honey types are recognized derived from Acer, Asclepius, Brassica, Citrus, Epilobium (Chamaenerion), Ilex, Liriodendron, Melilotus, Nyssa, Oxydendron, Rhus, Trifolium and Tilia.
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The information in this book is useful to anyone wanting to start beekeeping as a hobby or a business. It was written for beginners. Those who have never looked into beekeeping, may not understand the meaning of the terminology used by people in the industry. We have tried to overcome the problem by giving explanations. We want you to be able to use this book as a guide in to beekeeping.