Did you know that bees are vital to the health and growth of tart cherries? Without these golden, little workers we wouldn’t be able to provide tart cherry juice to our customers.
Although bees can sometimes be a nuisance, they are vital to the growth of your favorite foods. From apples, to cherries to plums and more, they help to keep the food supply healthy.
Here is a brief list of foods that bees help to grow:
The bee is part of a group called pollinators. This group includes bees, bats, birds and butterflies. The purpose of this group is to transfer seed and pollen from one flower to another, thus fertilizing the plant so it can grow. This is referred to as cross-pollination and over 30% of the crops rely on this to thrive. Thus without the bees and other pollinators many of the plants would simply no survive.
Cherry trees can be divided into two groups. These are self-pollinating and cross-pollination. The tart cherry, used to make tart cherry juice concentrate, is a self-pollinating tree, while the sweet cherry requires cross-pollination. This means that the sweet variety needs to be planted in groups or rows to be able to cross pollinate. Although the tarts are self-pollinating, they are also planted in orchards to mass production of the crops.
To attract bees and other pollinators into the orchards, several strategies are employed including strategically placing bee hives throughout the orchard. Here are just a few of the bee hives that help to pollinate our food supply.
In addition to the hives, allowing dandelions to grow plentiful throughout the row of trees is another way to attract bees. However, over the past several years the U.S. bee population has been on a decline. In fact, the current bee population is the lowest it has been in nearly 50 years. While it is still unknown why bees are leaving their hives, never to return and this event is often referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder. It is estimated since 2005 nearly 1/3 of the U.S. bee population have vanished.
Here are just a few of the strategies used to help protect the bees in the cherry orchards.
Not using harmful pesticides. This is probably the most important step to take since it not only helps the bee population, but allows the tart cherries to be grown organically. In fact, cherry juice, tart cherry capsules and other cherry-products do test out pesticide free.
Providing complimentary insects to the bee so they can help to rid the orchards of aggressive insects that could hurt the overall bee population.