THE BEES, THE POLLINATION, THE CUCURBITS AND THEIR STRONG RELATIONSHIP

pollination and bees

Today, while walking through the farm; my usual habit every morning. Alas! I was attracted to an insect lying lifeless on a cucumber leave, on close examination; it turns out to be a dead bee. “What could have caused this I asked myself?” Going through our farm production record mentally, I did remember we used a broad spectrum insecticide on some crops the previous day (though not the flowering cucumber). I felt the pain of stabbing Mother Nature on the back. The bee must have had contact somewhere with the residue of the broad spectrum insecticide used. I began to ruminate not only about loss to nature but potential loss of yield on my farm
particularly for those crops that heavily depend on  cross pollination for fruiting of which cucurbit happens to be first.
You may also read: Why your watermelon fails to fruit in spite of flowering heavily

Managing the use of insecticide
Due to the alarming surge in global population, a dire need to feed same and a threat to food security; it is understandable that there is a need to develop crop protection products. These products are meant to help farmers combat insect infestations, diseases etc. Unfortunately enough, some of these products also harm Mother Nature and kill beneficiary insects and micro-organism. 
Some crops like cucurbits family (Cucumber, watermelon, squash, pumpkin and cantaloupe) has imperfect flowers formation and can either be monoecious and dioecious in nature. What this means is that, they would heavily depends on external influence for pollination. Among the agents of pollination, bees and other beneficiary insects do over 70% of the work. Understanding the need to use ONLY narrow spectrum insecticide when these crops start flowering would not only help to prevent death of these goods insects but also determines the yield and by extension, the profit. 
In a nutshell, as a farmer, when you intend to cultivate any veggies particularly those within the cucurbit family, it is essential you choose your insecticide carefully. When the crop is in seedling and post seedling stage before flowering, you may decide to use broad-spectrum insecticide but once flowering stage commences, you must change to narrow spectrum insecticide. Though, the latter seems more expensive relatively and are often manufactured by some notable global agrochemical companies in the likes of Bayer, Sygenta etc. but it is more than worth buying such products. 

Dead bee poisoned by broad spectrum insecticide
How to invite and encourage pollination 
Boosting flower formation: Bees and other beneficiary pollinators have no business on your farm. You may be wondering what I meant. I meant that they have no business on your farm! What actually attract them to coming to your farm are the flowers. Which means – the more flowers you have; the more the bees. Flower formation by nature would incur in any veggies design by nature to flower at some points but this can be greatly enhanced.
1. Use of potassium based fertilizer: In other to enhance flower formation, introduce the use of potassium based fertilizer at post vegetative stage before the start of budding/flower formation. This helps in boosting flower formation. Example of notable potassium based fertilizers are MOP, Potassium Nitrate and NPK 0:0:18 or 0:15:15).
2. Use of natural plant hormones/enzymes: There are some products organically produced when spray on crop foliage would supply micronutrients which enhances and boost flower formation. They are also friendly to nature and produce romantic aroma which attract the bees. Look for this kind of product and put such to use. (If you are in Nigeria, you contact Desilvas Bros Nig. Ltd for such products or contact Greenfield Evergreen Resources Company which markets range of such products). You may also read: Cucumber cultivation dictionary Part 1
3. Use ONLY narrow spectrum insecticide: It is essential you shop for narrow spectrum insecticide to be put use during flowering stage. For the sake of certainty, you may want to check the bottle label yourself. It would be stated on it if it is a narrow spectrum insecticide.  Example of active ingredients in this class are spirotetramat, flubendamide. 
4. Understanding spraying time: Even if you must use narrow spectrum insecticide, spray only toward evening please. Bees are mostly active in the morning, spraying your farm around this time may indirectly harm them due to concentration effect and also disturb the flow of their activities. 

I strongly believe you now have a better understanding to putting insecticide to work on your farm and making nature and farming activities to be in sync. Please do feel free to contact me for further information specific to your need. Thank you. 





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HYBRID VEGGIES : THE BEES, THE POLLINATION, THE CUCURBITS AND THEIR STRONG RELATIONSHIP
THE BEES, THE POLLINATION, THE CUCURBITS AND THEIR STRONG RELATIONSHIP
pollination and bees
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