Written by: Annie Muggia, intern at Blueland
April 8, 2022
Bees may be small but they pack a punch (literally). Bees are pollinators meaning they are an essential part of plant reproduction. They create food and shelter for other creatures. By improving our natural world they benefit human life. In fact, bees make it so we can breathe? Survive? Without bees, humans would not have much to eat as ⅓ of our global food supply comes from bee pollination. While our planet is full of creatures and plants that all contribute to our ecosystem, one of the most important components of this system is bees.
Why Does Pollination Matter?
Bees help pollinate plants so they can spread pollen to other creatures. According to the Monticello News, crops like apples, melons, and berries depend on bees to produce their food. With the increase of endangered bees, farmers will frequently rent colonies of bees so they can pollinate their fields. Without this rental, it is possible that not enough bees will naturally show up and pollinate their crops and plants. Bees benefit wildlife because they pollinate plants that produce food like seeds and nuts which are a source of food for local wildlife.
Why are Honey Bees Called Honey Bees?:
Well, honey bees do in fact produce honey and beeswax. Honey bees or their scientific name–Apis Mellifera–live for an average of five years. Honey bees have different roles including workers, queens and drones. First, the workers are females who are not sexually developed, meaning they hunt for food and protect the hive. Second, the queen lays the eggs and takes care of the babies. Usually, there is just one queen in a hive, but if it dies, then the workers will nominate a new queen. Lastly, the drones are male bees who strictly live in the hives during the spring and summer. These roles are important because it explains the life cycle of honey bees. Humans are more likely to be stung by a native bee than honey bees because they are more likely to defend their hive. According to the USDA, there have been “unexplained losses of managed U.S. honey bee colonies.” This is concerning as honey bees are critical for honey production across the U.S. and the world.
What is the History of Beekeeping?
According to Masters in Public Health, there are 212,000 beekeepers in the U.S. and each of these keepers has, on average, four workers who manage the farm. A significant proportion of these farms focus on honey bees who produce honey, which can go towards production. There are approximately 1.5 million people in the bee and honey industry. You are not too far off if you think bees do it all. Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem as they play an integral role in keeping our natural world in homeostasis. As humans, we were only as healthy as our planet and therefore invested in the long-lasting health of our bee populations. As humans, we are only as healthy as our planet and apparently our bees. Therefore it is in our best interest to stay invested in the long-lasting health of our bee populations.