As regards pollination, for
instance, scientists have estimated that if we had to do by hand what is
currently done for us for free by bees, bugs, birds and bats, the annual cost
would be well in excess of half a trillion dollars. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
But in the province of Szechuan in China, that’s exactly what they’re having
to do right now. Having wiped out most of their benefi cial insects through
the over-application of pesticides, they’re now having to collect pollen by
hand and apply it (using feather-dusters!) by hand to keep alive their
hugely valuable orchards.
The collapse of the bee stock in Szechuan is as a result of CCD. Not something that has, at least as far as I know, been definitively linked to pesticide use.
But hand pollination? Isn\’t this a normal, or at least often used, technique in fruit orchards anyway? There are references here to studies of it in the Pacific North West in the 1940s.
- Snyder JC (1942) Commercial hand–pollination methods for apples in the north-west. Proc Am Soc Hort Sci 41: 183-186.
- Overley FL, Bullock RM (1947) Pollen diluents and application of pollen to fruit trees. Proc Am Soc Hort Sci 49: 163-169.
- Vansell GH, Griggs WH (1952) Honey bees as agents of pollination. U S Department of Agriculture Yearbook. pp. 88-107.
- Griggs WH (1953) Pollination requirements of fruits and nuts. Calif Agric Exp Stn Circ 424: 4-35.
- MacDaniels LH (1930) The possibilities of hand pollination in the orchard on a commercial scale. Proc Am Soc Hort Sci 27: 370-373.
- Karmo EA, Vickery VR (1960) The fruit pollination of Nova Scotia. Gleanings in Bee Cult 88: 167-170, 187.
- Ya T, Jia-sui X, Keming C (2003) Hand pollination of pears and its implications for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection — A case study from Hanyuan county, Sichuan province, China. College of the Environment, Sichuan University Sichuan, China. Available: http://www.fao.org/Ag/AGP/AGPS/C-CAB/Castudies/pdf/6-005.pdf. Accessed 3 January 2007.