Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Had Your Morning Coffee? Thank A Killer Bee; Smithsonian Scientist Shows Pollination By Exotic Honeybees Increases Coffee Crop Yields By More Than 50 Percent

Date:
June 13, 2002
Source:
Smithsonian Institution
Summary:
Debunking the widely held belief that the self-pollinating shrub that produces the popular Arabica coffee bean has no use for insects, David W. Roubik of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama has demonstrated that pollination – particularly by naturalized, non-native African honeybees – dramatically boosts the yield from shade-grown coffee plants.

Debunking the widely held belief that the self-pollinating shrub that produces the popular Arabica coffee bean has no use for insects, David W. Roubik of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama has demonstrated that pollination – particularly by naturalized, non-native African honeybees – dramatically boosts the yield from shade-grown coffee plants.

Related Articles


The results of Roubik’s research in Panama over the past five years, with comparisons to data from 15 countries in the New World and 15 in the Old World, are reported in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature. They emphasize the importance of shade-grown coffee – not only to improve the flavor of the beverage, but also to maintain the habitat for naturalized honeybees and other pollinators.

African honeybees took up residence in western Panama in 1985, according to Roubik; shortly thereafter, they were the major pollinators of coffee growing near forests at 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) above sea level. To test the idea suggested by his first work in 1997 – that maximum yield occurs at young coffee shrubs near forest – Roubik studied 50, two-year-old plants in Panama in 2001, keeping the pollinators away from a control branch on each plant by bagging them with fine mesh. In both studies, he found the flowers visited by pollinators produced significantly heavier, more abundant fruit. Conversely, in several countries where the areas of high-density coffee cultivation have increased two- to five-fold in the last 41 years, coffee yield has decreased by 20- to 50 percent. Roubik concluded that he loss of pollinators clearly is implicated in this decline, which strongly suggests that sustained, aggressive cultivation is detrimental, since it removes their natural habitat.

“You probably don't realize that part of your daily routine involves bees,” said Roubik, adding, “I say this because, from what I see going on in the Neotropics, the work of two or three dozen wild African honey bees is in every cup of coffee that you drink."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Smithsonian Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Smithsonian Institution. "Had Your Morning Coffee? Thank A Killer Bee; Smithsonian Scientist Shows Pollination By Exotic Honeybees Increases Coffee Crop Yields By More Than 50 Percent." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020613075535.htm>.
Smithsonian Institution. (2002, June 13). Had Your Morning Coffee? Thank A Killer Bee; Smithsonian Scientist Shows Pollination By Exotic Honeybees Increases Coffee Crop Yields By More Than 50 Percent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020613075535.htm
Smithsonian Institution. "Had Your Morning Coffee? Thank A Killer Bee; Smithsonian Scientist Shows Pollination By Exotic Honeybees Increases Coffee Crop Yields By More Than 50 Percent." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020613075535.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins