Las abejas son uno de los principales polinizadores responsables de transferir el polen de las partes masculinas de las flores a las femeninas, lo que permite la reproducción de las plantas. Este proceso de polinización es esencial para la producción de frutos, semillas y la diversidad genética de las especies vegetales. Las abejas contribuyen a la polinización de una gran variedad de plantas, incluidos cultivos en flor, árboles, arbustos y flores silvestres. Al desplazarse de flor en flor en busca de néctar y polen, las abejas facilitan la polinización cruzada, aumentando la diversidad genética de las poblaciones vegetales.
El Servicio de Juventud del Ayuntamiento de Murcia organizó una visita a una granja apícola del Campo de Cartagena como parte de las actividades del proyecto puropeo JOIN - Transnational Network of Young Women for a Ecological Just and Social Transition, el 21 de mayo de 2023.
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Bees are one of the primary pollinators responsible for transferring pollen from the male parts of flowers to the female parts, enabling plant reproduction. This pollination process is essential for the production of fruits, seeds, and the genetic diversity of plant species. Bees contribute to the pollination of a wide variety of plants, including flowering crops, trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. As they move from flower to flower in search of nectar and pollen, bees facilitate cross-pollination, increasing genetic diversity within plant populations.
Bees are essential also for plant diversity. Bees have a preference for specific types of flowers, and their foraging behavior contributes to the diversity and distribution of flowering plants. Different species of bees have varying preferences for flower shape, color, scent, and nectar availability. As bees visit a variety of plants, they aid in the dispersal of pollen across different plant species, promoting genetic diversity and supporting the health and resilience of plant communities.
Bees are important indicators of ecosystem health. Their presence and abundance indicate the presence of diverse plant communities and a healthy ecosystem. As pollinators, bees help maintain the stability and balance of ecosystems by facilitating the reproduction and survival of plant species. This, in turn, provides habitat and food sources for other organisms, including birds, insects, and mammals.
From the point of view of food web and wildlife, bees serve as a food source for various organisms, including birds, bats, spiders, and other insects. The decline in bee populations can have cascading effects on the food availability for other wildlife species, potentially impacting their survival and population dynamics.
Protecting and conserving bee populations and their habitats helps maintain ecological balance and promotes the preservation of plant diversity. By conserving bee species, we indirectly contribute to the conservation of other interconnected species and habitats.
Also, in relation to genetic resources, bees themselves exhibit significant genetic diversity, with numerous species and subspecies distributed worldwide. This genetic diversity provides the basis for adaptation and resilience in the face of environmental changes, such as climate change and habitat loss. Conserving diverse bee populations ensures the preservation of valuable genetic resources that can potentially benefit future generations.
It is important to note that the relationship between bees and biodiversity is complex and interdependent. The decline in bee populations, attributed to factors such as habitat loss, pesticide use, climate change, and diseases, can have detrimental effects on plant diversity, ecosystem stability, and the overall health of ecosystems.
Protecting and supporting bee populations through conservation measures, sustainable agricultural practices, and habitat preservation is crucial for safeguarding biodiversity and maintaining the functioning of ecosystems. But what can we do?
JOIN participants visited a beehives farm located in Campo de Cartagena and enjoyed a bee master class by an expert:
1. Informative presentation: About bees and their crucial role in biodiversity, highlighting the significance of pollinators in the ecosystem. Together, we visited a local apiary where participants saw beehives up close, observed bees at work, and learnt about beekeeping practices. A honey tasting session provided participants with the opportunity to taste a variety of locally sourced honeys, showcasing the different flavors and types of honey produced by bees.
2. Native plant garden tour: The farm featured native plants that support pollinators. That allowed us to discuss the importance of planting pollinator-friendly gardens and provide tips on creating one at home. Thus, the experts organized a hands-on workshop where participants planted wildflowers or herbs in pots, which they can take home to kickstart their bee-friendly gardens. The idea was to engage participants in building small-scale pollinator habitats like bee hotels or butterfly houses, which allowed to discuss how these structures help support local biodiversity. The expert taught participants to make beeswax candles, using it as an opportunity to discuss the multiple uses of bee products and their importance in various industries.
3. Bee quiz: With the assistance of the expert, the event hosted a fun and interactive quiz session to test participants' knowledge about bees and biodiversity, with prizes for the winners. The quiz allowed us to further have interactive discussions on the challenges that bees and other pollinators face and brainstorm solutions to protect them.
4. Policy recommendation: Dealing with the protection of bee’s population in the region.
To protect bees in the Campo de Cartagena region, participants discussed with the experts interviewed the following recommendations:
1. Preserve natural habitats: Protect and preserve natural habitats such as meadows, wildflowers, and forests that provide nesting sites and food sources for bees. Avoid excessive clearing or conversion of land for agriculture or urbanization.
2. Encourage diverse vegetation: Promote a diverse range of flowering plants, trees, and shrubs in the area. Bees rely on a variety of nectar and pollen sources throughout the year, so planting a mixture of native wildflowers and flowering trees will provide a continuous food supply.
3. Limit pesticide use: Minimize the use of pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, which are harmful to bees. If pesticides are necessary, opt for bee-friendly alternatives and apply them during periods when bees are less active, such as late evening or early morning.
4. Provide water sources: Bees need water for hydration and cooling their hives. Create shallow water sources, such as birdbaths or small ponds, with rocks or floating objects for the bees to land on.
5. Create bee-friendly habitats: Set up bee-friendly structures such as bee hotels or nesting boxes. These can provide shelter and nesting sites for solitary bees, which are important pollinators. Make sure the structures are placed in a sunny location and contain a variety of materials such as bamboo, wood, and plant stems.
6. Educate the community: Raise awareness about the importance of bees and their role in pollination. Organize workshops, seminars, or educational campaigns to inform the local community, farmers, and landowners about bee conservation practices and the benefits they provide to the ecosystem.
7. Support organic farming practices: Encourage farmers in the Campo de Cartagena region to adopt organic and sustainable farming practices. Organic farming reduces the use of synthetic pesticides and promotes biodiversity, making it more bee-friendly.
8. Collaborate with local beekeepers: Establish partnerships with local beekeepers to promote bee conservation and sustainable beekeeping practices. Beekeepers can provide valuable insights into the needs of bees in the area and help raise awareness about their importance.
9. Monitor and report bee health: Establish monitoring programs to assess the health and population of bees in the region. Report any unusual declines in bee populations or signs of diseases to local beekeeping associations or relevant authorities for further investigation.
10. Engage in policy advocacy: Support and advocate for policies and regulations that protect bees and their habitats. Collaborate with local authorities, environmental organizations, and stakeholders to implement measures that safeguard bees in the Campo de Cartagena region.
The opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.