For World Bee Day 2021: an update of the coffee-bee visits figure from my book

Today is World Bee Day 2021! To celebrate it, here’s an update of a figure that appears in my book Pollinators & Pollination: Nature and Society. It’s reminder of just how important bees are as the main pollinators of coffee, one of the world’s major crops. The new figure adds another two years of data and also improves the accuracy of some of the statistics for the previous decade. The coffee production data are from the International Coffee Organization.

Bottom line is that the global coffee production in 2019/20 was the result of 24 TRILLION flower visits by bees! That’s down a little from the previous year, but it’s still a LOT of visits by a HELL of a lot bees!

If you want to know more about how this was calculated and what it means for both coffee production and bee conservation, I discuss it with Dr Kirsten Traynor in this recent podcast for the magazine 2 Million Blossoms.

Happy World Bee Day everyone!

2 thoughts on “For World Bee Day 2021: an update of the coffee-bee visits figure from my book

  1. Peter Bernhardt

    Jeff: During my Peace Corps days in El Salvador (1974-1977) I ate honey produced by hives in coffee plantations. However, textbooks in Economic Botany still insist that domesticated coffee is self-pollinating. Here is an important question. In which landscape are bees most likely to visit coffee flowers? Is it in the traditional plantation where bushes stand in a shade that is a remnant of a “thinned” native forest or in the modern plantations dominated by coffee cultivars that grow in full sunlight? I have a bias for the traditional method as it encourages the biodiversity of native species, especially native birds and epiphytes (orchids and bromeliads), and allows people to collect other wild products. Is it possible that bee visits to coffee have declined recently due to a shift from traditional to modern (monoculture) landscapes?

    Reply

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