Famous for the coffee brand Buon Ma Thuot, it is the cradle, the coffee capital of Vietnam. Indeed everyone is fascinated when enjoying a cup of Ban Me coffee, with a seductive, passionate scent thanks to the bees’ hard work pollination, ecstasy, very typical, and is hard to find anywhere else.
To have such a perfect cup of coffee; one must converge many factors such as soil, soil, climate, weather, techniques of care, harvesting, processing, etc.
Each of these factors contributes an essential part to the formation of the Buon Ma Thuot coffee brand. Not only famous in the country but also famous in the international arena.
Wind and insects significantly influence the pollination process and the fruiting of coffee trees. But perhaps the most significant work is thanks to the bees. Not only bring honey to life but also directly help the vast coffee forests of Buon Ma Thuot – Dak Lak to bloom and bear fruit.
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From February to the end of April, coffee flowers bloom white all over the mountains and forests of the Central Highlands.
Hardworking Bees come to coffee flowers to suck nectar and collect pollen. In entering the pistil to get nectar, contain pollen grains. The bees were attached to the pollen grains on the body. Then to other flowers, those pollen grains fall on the pistil and create pollination for coffee flowers.
Coffee plants do not carry pollen from one flower to another on their own; It is these species that help the plant pollinate flowers and produce coffee beans.
Thanks to bee pollination and the excellent care of farmers; Coffee plants can increase yield and quality during the season.
That’s why we have a great cup of coffee, a part of the bees’ contribution, not only bringing honey to life; but also bringing to humanity a drink that converges from the quintessence of heaven and earth.
Bees and coffee flowers create a beautiful, charming scene. When we closely witness the bustle of bees, look to the pure white coffee flowers to suck nectar. Bees rely on coffee trees to survive, and coffee trees rely on bees to produce fruit—a miracle of creation, which both sides save the essence from dedicating to life.
Are Bees the Answer to the Future of Specialty Coffee?
Arabica coffee plants, which produce high-quality coffee, are self-pollinating, which means they don’t require bees or other insects to pollinate them – or so the story goes. Bees, on the other hand, have been found in multiple studies to not only boost the productivity of an Arabica crop by 50% or more but also to improve crop quality. And that’s just the beginning: in addition to pollen, bees assist in the movement of some of the most important insects and creatures that maintain coffee plants healthy. Coffee farms are, to varying degrees, functioning ecosystems in which animals and plants coexist — competing with, eating, and benefiting from one another.
Pests abound in this community, ranging from insects to microorganisms, all of which can harm the coffee crop in numerous ways and lower its quantity and quality. Natural pest controllers, such as frogs, snakes, birds, bats, insects, spiders, and even bacteria, exist in the community. There’s a growing consensus, backed by hard data, that protecting these ecosystems is not just good for the environment, but also excellent for business for many crops, including coffee.
Agricultural intensification has dramatically enhanced coffee crop yields through the use of new plant kinds, artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and other methods. Agricultural intensification, on the other hand, has frequently come at a high environmental cost – it is not necessarily sustainable. In a drive to grow more crops, agricultural practices have been developed that severely impair biodiversity, soil fertility, and structure, and are harmful to human health. But, slowly but steadily, the way we cultivate coffee or at least specialty coffee, is changing. I mentioned the importance of bees in my June blog post, and I hinted at the benefit of shade-grown coffee to wildlife. Let’s take a deeper look at these active pollinators.
A large-scale study on an Arabica plantation in Jamaica in the 1970s discovered that introducing honey bees resulted in 52 percent more mature coffee berries, a finding that was replicated over several harvests. This was accomplished by netting an entire field, prohibiting bees from some plants while allowing them access to others, and then comparing the results. Independent investigations in Indonesia and Panama thirty years later found that wild bees improve coffee output as well, with over 20 native bee species visiting Arabica coffee blooms in both locations. In these latter experiments, the importance of bee cross-pollination varied greatly, but it was always considerable. The fraction of flowers that require cross-pollination appears to vary between coffee strains, ranging from a few percent to over 90%. Many additional studies in coffee-growing locations throughout the world have found comparable benefits, offering coffee growers compelling reasons to protect bees and their habitats.
Cross-pollination by bees can also boost crop quality, as I mentioned earlier. This is due to the fact that not all of the beans on a bush, or even a single branch, ripen at the same time. Picking individual beans as they ripen for the optimum flavor and sweetness would need picking them as they ripen, which is usually prohibitively expensive. Picking full bunches when most of them are ripe while admitting that some may be under-or over-ripe, is a compromise. Bee cross-pollination promotes pollination and ripening synchronization, resulting in a higher proportion of fruits that are at their peak when collected.
So, what should Arabica growers do if they wish to boost productivity and quality? They might bring in honey bee hives to pollinate their coffee blossoms, or they could modify their plantation ecosystem to attract native bees. Which is best will depend on the conditions at each plantation, but native bees are preferred if at all possible, as studies show that they are more effective pollinators and will take care of themselves if given the suitable conditions. Because wild, native bees can’t compete with the massive commercial colonies, introducing honey bees usually results in a loss in wild, native bees, therefore this needs to be carefully considered. Honey bees must also be cared for, and the cost of doing so must be taken into account. They do, however, make honey, and coffee flower honey is sold as a profitable sideline in at least two coffee-producing countries.
How do you help the wild bees in your neighborhood? You provide food and shelter for them. The majority of species are solitary or live in small groups, building nests in the ground or in trees, and often digging their own tunnels. For ground nesters, growers can supply low dirt banks, as well as old or dead trees for those that prefer them. By constructing simple, inexpensive prefab nests, they can even save them the work of digging. They will flourish on native flowering plants when the coffee is not in flower, and growers will just need to set aside small sections of their land to maintain them.
Growers will be repaid with interest by the bees. Many producers already set aside or manage land for biodiversity in order to fulfill various sustainability accreditations – and many have noted the benefits bees provide.
This isn’t a one-dimensional, straightforward relationship. The coffee plant receives more from the bees than just pollen in exchange for a little nectar. Bees can transport viruses, bacteria, fungi, and even other insects that can help reduce coffee pests and diseases, which are commercially essential. All of this is a natural part of any healthy ecosystem, but it can also be enhanced commercially if honey bees are used as pollinators in a process known as pollinator bio control vector technology (PBVT), which is being researched by agricultural scientists and ecologists working on Brazilian coffee.
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Coffee plants have been grown organically for hundreds of years, including interplanting coffee with shade trees, composting, and avoiding toxic chemicals. According to industry experts, these traditional, “sustainable” plantations frequently provide the greatest tasting coffee.
Why, therefore, aren’t all coffee beans cultivated in this manner? Because “full light” fields allow farmers to produce more beans for less money. Unfortunately, those fields come at a high cost to the ecosystem.
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