Good news for bee fans; hemp fields may hold a worst-case cache of nutrients for hungry colonies, according to a study done by a Colorado State etymology student. Last week, Colton O’Brien presented, in a gathering of etymological societies, his discovery of a total of 23 bee genera in traps that he set up in a hemp field in August. The preponderance of the winged critters that the student found among the hemp rows indicate that the crop could have unexpected ecological value — a nice bonus should current rumblings of hemp legalization result in a boom of the plant’s commercial production.
In some ways, hemp plants are a surprising draw for bee populations. The plant does not create nectar, and its pollen is typically spread by wind, not insects. O’Brien’s month-long study was conducted at a time of year in which few other plants are growing, which may explain in part the hemp’s popularity for hungry bees on the search for sustenance. In reporting the story, ScienceNews adds that the effects of hemp pollen on bee larvae is unknown.
But it’s possible that in hard times, hemp could be a good resource for struggling bee colonies. In the November 11