Buzz..Buzz..Buzz...It is that time of year again when the weather warms up and the world comes alive. This is the beauty within the bees.
"According to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. Its wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don't care what humans think is impossible." While this quote is infamous from the Bee movie released in 2007, the information released in the quote is wrong. Bees are vital magnificent insects that many fear without realizing their importance. According to a study in 2005 by D. L. Altshuler, a professor of Zoology at the University of British Columbia, honeybees hover with a low stroke amplitude and high wingbeat frequency. They beat their wings about 230 times a minute. This study shows exactly how extraordinary bees truly are.
Many people do not understand just how magnificent bees truly are. There are over 20,000 species of bees located across the world. The most common misconception is that wasps are considered bees. While they are relatively close within their classification, their behavior, feeding habits, physical differences and habitat clearly distinguish the difference between the two. There are over 20,000 species of bees. Certain species of bees die after stinging because their stingers are attached to their abdomen. The stingers have hooks that keep it stuck in the skin. When this type of bee tries to fly away after stinging part of the abdomen is ripped away. As the fertile female in the colony, the queen lays up to 2,000 eggs a day and can live for 1-3 years. The male bees in the hive are drones. They live during the spring and summer months and sole purpose is reproduction with a new queen. In an experiment completed by Olli J. Loukola and his fellow researches, bees were able to transfer a small ball to a defined location in return for a reward. This goes to show just how intelligent they are and proving that this intelligent insect is vital.
Most people do not understand the importance of bees in our ecosystem. Through pollination, bees help with the growth of plants and crops and in return produce a high demanded item: honey. Production of honey allows for an income for many. Pollinators affect 35 percent of global agriculture production. This yields a total price tag of $235 to $577 million US dollars. Without the pollination of bees, we would lose crops such as grapes, tomatoes, broccoli, beets, coffee, strawberries and alfalfa to name a few. Bees must visit about two million flowers to make a one-pound jar of honey. In 2017, 1.47 million pounds of honey were produced from 2.6 million honey-producing colonies. They are important for the production of wax products such as candles, cosmetics, and crafts. Hobbyists and part-time bookkeeper account for roughly 40 percent of the honey production, and 1,600 commercial beekeepers are responsible for the remaining 60 percent of production. Since most of the production occurs within a very minute amount of beekeepers, there is a growing concern of as the population of bees continues to decline.
Over 40% of the bee colonies in the US have suffered Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees to care for the remaining immature bees and the queen. Parasite varroa mites are attacking bees, draining them of their fluids and creating an open gateway for a virus to seep in. Due to the increasing number of one-crop fields, bees aren't getting the best nutrition. Commercial agriculture is also a huge problem as farmers are using a harsh chemical to keep pests from destroying their crops. However, chemicals like clothianidin, which was banned by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam are all chemicals that have been linked to bee death and collapsion of colonies, yet there are still being used in the United States.
These are a few solutions that people are taking. Many are using natural root killers and pesticide killers. While many note that it isn't always as efficient, it is certainly better than accidentally killing an entire hive. Those who advocate for bee preservation encourage gardeners and everyone to garden plants like Lavender, White Clover, Heather, Forget-Me-Nots, English Daisies, and California Lilacs. Buying local honey allows beekeepers to continue their job and lifestyle. It also ensures that the bees are being cared for properly and it is safer than obtaining honey from large corporations who typically add preservatives and chemicals. It is healthier for both species in the long run!
Bees are vital magnificent insects that many fear and kill without realizing their importance. With the commercial loss of honeybees since 2006 in the United States has reached over 40%, it is important to understand the ever growing situation that will impact every single person on the planet.
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