"The most dramatic example comes from the apple and pear orchards of south west China, where wild bees have been eradicated by excessive pesticide use and a lack of natural habitat.
In recent years, farmers have been forced to hand-pollinate their trees, carrying pots of pollen and paintbrushes with which to individually pollinate every flower, and using their children to climb up to the highest blossoms. This is clearly just possible for this high-value crop, but there are not enough humans in the world to pollinate all of our crops by hand.
There are simple solutions; studies in Europe and North America have found that planting strips of wildflowers on farms, and leaving patches of natural vegetation such as forests, can greatly boost pollinator populations. These practices can also increase populations of natural predators, decreasing the need for pesticide sprays."
Dale Hodgins wrote:I hope that this will stem the tide of poisoned fruit from China that is flooding the market. The failure of environmentally destructive agriculture is to be celebrated.
I heard recently that the human pollinators are doing a more complete job than the insects did, leading to better fruit set and larger harvests. so your hope might be disappointed, Dale. as wages rise in China, it will be harder to justify the expense, though, so it might only be a matter of time.
Many of crops have been treated with stuff that will also kill bees. Hence, the decline of bees.
How many of you out there have hand pollinated?
Some say use a Qtip. It does not work as well as a paintbrush.
I have used my paintbrush. A soft sable brush will work fine.
After pollinating, I close it up so it cannot be cross pollinated. We did this with several plants. Gourds included. It was fun.
There are time limits on when to do this. You just have to watch when the male amd female flowers open. Squash is interesting to catch. Some have a two hour time limit.
China is a beautiful place. I wish they would take more time in trying to clean it up. They need it, animals, land and people. Some of the mountains are in the movie, "Avatar". Gorgeous.
Too much industry in many parts of the world will bring about pollution.
I have faith that one day it will all be cleaned up.