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Honeybee important to onion farmers

10 July 2014 - 12:00 By Sapa
Bees. File photo.
Bees. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images

The honeybee provides a cost-free and valuable service to onion-seed farmers in the Klein Karoo, according to a conservation ecology student at Stellenbosch University.

The doctoral student Mariette Brand says honeybees are the most important pollinators of onion plants.

"Her study showed that wild and managed honeybees play a vital role in the production of onion hybrid seeds by carrying pollen from male to female plants," according to a statement issued by the university on Thursday.

"There is a direct link between seed yield, the number of honeybee visits and the cultivation of more male plants."

Brand said the honeybee remains the most important and valuable species to man because it is easy to use large colonies to pollinate crops and produce honey.

She said bees are well-suited for pollinating plants because of their behaviour and anatomy.