Not Quite So Sweet: Hemp & the Honeybee

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With the unprecedented amount of money flowing into the CBD space post-legalization, it’s a fair bet we’ll see a massive increase in the acreage of hemp planted for CBD this year, which involves female hemp plants producing high-CBD flower instead of male hemp plants releasing pollen. Despite not getting nectar from hemp plants, bees do harvest pollen, which is protein-rich and essential for larva development. In other words, honeybees can help hemp farmers increase production, but the bees can’t live solely on hemp. Hemp & Honeybees It’s a promise that is repeated often throughout our emergent industry: There’s a hope that hemp can help. Her student O’Brien was working in the field, she says, when he noticed an abundance of wild bees and honeybees on flowering hemp plants.

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A funny thing happened in November 2006.

David Hackenberg, a Pennsylvania beekeeper tending to his hives in Florida, went on a routine check. What he found was startling: After opening up his hives, he discovered that there were very few honeybees present, which was an abnormality. He checked around the hives, but couldn’t find any perished bees — another abnormality.

Hackenberg’s discovery alerted beekeepers in the United States of a serious — and potentially catastrophic — problem that was later named colony collapse disorder (CCD). But the phenomenon wasn’t entirely new. It had happened sporadically throughout history, though in...

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