Cannabis and Honey Bees, and Other Pollinators

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Honey Bee Collecting Cannabis Pollen
Honey Bee Collecting Cannabis Pollen

With all the to-do on social media and elsewhere I have decided to share my opinion here on the subject of honey bees and flowering cannabis.

So, do honey bees, or other pollinators frequent cannabis plants in search of food?

Well the answer is yes, and no…

Let me explain…

I have raised honey bees myself for many years, I have also grown our favorite plant for even longer….50 years plus…

Do honey bees and other pollinators derive nectar from cannabis?

The answer is no they do not. Cannabis flowers produces no nectar at all.

So do they get anything from a cannabis plant?

Previously I would have also answered no, but I was wrong. I have seen honey bees (their hive is likely close) working my outdoor seed grow this summer.

Honey Bee Working Male Cannabis Plant
Honey Bee Working Male Cannabis Plant

So they can, and do, harvest pollen from male cannabis plants. Pollen is a bees source of protein. Although I have not seen it, I would imagine Bumble bees, and solitary bees may well visit cannabis as a source of pollen as well.

I would believe the only other reason for butterflies or moths to visit cannabis is to lay their eggs which hatch into the much despised caterpillars you can hear so much about.

When I grew cannabis for all those years I was producing sensimilla (seedless flowers) and never purposely grew males out to maturity. So never saw any bees working the plants at all.

And, I realize the Internet is lit up with images of honey bees crowding each other on female cannabis flowers. My take on this is the female cannabis flowers have been sprayed with sugar water. That is the only reason the bees are there.

So can bees make cannabis honey?

Well sort of…..you could spray your female cannabis flowers with sugar water, and the bees will likely pick up some trichomes while sucking up the sugar water. These trichomes could conceivably make their way into the honey, infusing it with THCA. One must be aware however this THCA has not been decarboxylated….so the THC is inactive and therefore the honey will not make you high, unless of course you heat it somehow.

Now that I am producing seed for you guys I have males around, and have found bees working the males to procure their pollen. So now I am aware of bees working cannabis plants as a food source.

In conclusion…Cannabis is a wind pollinated plant, produces no nectar, so it’s pollination gets little if any help from insect pollinators. Pollinators can, however, harvest pollen (cannabis produces copious amount of pollen) from cannabis plants.

If you have any thoughts on this subject please share them in a comment.

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