ESTATE CROPS NEWS – The life of honey bees is highly dependent on the availability of plants as producers of nectar and pollen as bee feed. The availability of large amounts of nectar and pollen is a prerequisite for honey bee cultivation. There are 33 types of plants that have the potential to produce honey bee feed. Some types of plants are known to contain only a lot of nectar or a lot of pollen. The sesame plant is a superior plant because in addition to containing a lot of nectar, it also contains a lot of pollen, and is favored by bees because of its aroma (Mulyaningsih, 2000).
Sesame flowers grow 1-3 buds in the axils of the leaves on both the main stem and branches. The sesame flower crown is tubular like a white-purple trumpet, blooms in the morning and will fall after pollination (in the afternoon). In each sesame flower there are five stamens. The stamens attach to the inner wall of the flower crown, when the flower blooms the anthers open and sprinkle the pollen. Because at the time of blooming the pistil located at the base of the flower has matured, self-pollination can occur. However, pollination can be increased by the presence of pollinating bees. Usually the bees come in the morning until around 8 o’clock to collect nectar and pollen.
Sesame plants begin to flower around the age of 30 days and will continue to flower until the top of the plant. Depending on the condition of the land and plants, if the average age of the sesame harvest is 90 days, then there is a sesame flowering period of 2 months. In several locations of sesame development centers, there are variations in the time of planting sesame in paddy fields because it adjusts to the time of rice harvest. Not to mention the presence of sesame planted on dry land in the rainy season. It can be said that throughout the year there are sesame plantations in the development center, so that every day there are sesame flowers that bloom. Where there are no more flowering plants, with such a sesame cultivation pattern, it will certainly become a potential source of food for honey bee cultivation.
Research on the effect of pollination by honey bees on sesame was conducted by Montilla in 1991 in Venezuela. The results showed that pollination by honeybees increased the number of capsules per plant, the number of seeds per capsule, the yield of sesame seeds, and the weight of 1,000 seeds. While research in India (Srivastava and Singh, 1968) where pollination of sesame assisted by honey bees, can increase the yield of sesame up to 44%. Other information states that the yield of other crops can also increase by 25-1.000% with the help of pollination by honey bees (Mulyaningsih, 2000). A study in the United States (Schmidt et al., 1995) which compared the effect of sesame pollen and several other plants on the health of honey bees, showed that young worker bees who consumed sesame pollen increased their survival by 1,
The results of these studies indicate that between honey bees and sesame plants there is a symbiotic mutualism (mutual benefit). With the help of pollination by honey bees, the yield of sesame can be increased, while for honey bees by consuming sesame pollen their survival and lifespan can increase.
Honey bees are not pests for sesame plants but help pollinate so as to increase sesame yields, while for bees their resistance and life span can increase. This mutually beneficial symbiosis needs to be developed and studied further.
Now there are honey bee entrepreneurs who can take advantage of sesame plantations as a source of honey bee feed, and have produced sesame honey. How does it feel? Only those who are fanatical about consuming honey can distinguish the taste. That sesame seeds have miraculous properties, many people know and have proven it. Similarly, the efficacy of honey was everyone acknowledged. There are many special recipes that combine sesame and honey in one recipe. The question is, if the honey comes from sesame flowers, will it combine the properties of sesame and honey? Please try. (ANJAS)