Honey bees are the bee’s knees. Act before there are none.

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Good little honey bee

Bees have been long-time feared or disliked insects because of their painful stings when feeling threatened, but some (not all), like honey bees and bumble bees, lose their lives after they sting. It’s kind of sad, I think, because these bees are really rather useful insects that provide many benefits to humans. Honey bees pollinate 80 percent of flowering crops. Those crops constitute one-third of everything we eat. Without honey bees, we would not have apples, strawberries, nuts, broccoli, cucumbers, blueberries, and many other favorite foods. Oh yes, let’s also not forget honey. In addition, the beef and dairy industries would be affected because alfalfa crops would be threatened. Alfalfa is a main source of their feed. If none of the honey bees were to survive, our insect pollinated plants would not survive, potentially reducing mankind to little more than a water diet, or at least years ahead with shortages of these products at much higher prices.

So what about other bees? Yes, if other bees, like the bumble bee were to survive there would still be a pollinator around, but many plants rely on specific types of bees for pollination. But bumble bees’ fates are not that encouraging either. But now it is the honey bee that is the most valued bee, because it is the most numerous in the world.

So why am I so concerned about honey bees disappearing? Because their populations are in fact declining quickly. Generally beekeepers expect around 17 percent of their bees to die off annually, but in recent years, losses have been more than twice as high.

The biggest challenge in maintaining honey bee populations is probably Varroa destructor, a well described name for a parasitic mite one might coin the vampire of the bee world. This mite feeds on both adult and developing honey bee blood. It also suppresses their immune response. These mites are notably large relative to the honey bee, and honey bees may be attacked by multiple mites. Beekeepers try to control these mites with products, but they are also detrimental to the bees, so basically the poor honey bees are in a lose lose situation.

Another cause of honey bee decline is an affliction dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Scientists believe CCD was caused by a combination of environmental and biological factors, though that is yet to be proven. Other possible causes for honey bee decline include viruses, bacterial diseases, fungi, and pesticides.

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Honey tastes good

So what can be done to save the populations of honey bees? People can make an effort to grow forage plants, especially ones that bloom at different times of the year. They can reduce the use of pesticides for gardening and landscaping. Also, support local beekeepers in buying their honey to encourage the continuation and extension of this noble practice.

Resources:

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/the-importance-of-honeybees

https://phys.org/news/2016-05-deciphering-mysterious-decline-honey-bees.html

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9 thoughts on “Honey bees are the bee’s knees. Act before there are none.

  1. Victoria K Gallagher May 3, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    Hi 🙂 My parents have a honey bee colony in the roof of their extension. To remove it would cost thousands, but they have decided to keep the bees after a local bee preservation society visited and told my mum and dad the importance of the honey bees. I didn’t know the extent of their importance so I’m very glad to have read your post. I’m emailing it to dad – he knows they are important, but knowing a bit more (if he didn’t already) will interest him.

    Recently, one of their bees was hovering around me and I went back inside because I didn’t want to be stung. According to mum, it wouldn’t have stung. I do have my doubts on that! I’d like to think it wouldn’t, but it’s still a bee and I’d rather not find out!

    Lovely post, thank you! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 3, 2017 / 3:14 pm

      That’s so nice of you to share my post with your dad, Victoria. I’m glad this was a topic you liked.

      I’ve found that if I leave the bee alone, they usually leave me alone. If I was a honey bee or bumble bee I wouldn’t want to be too eager to sting, if it would kill me.

      Like

  2. TheRedBearded May 3, 2017 / 3:19 pm

    Reblogged this on The Red Bearded and commented:
    This is more important than most of us realize, they benefit us so much, and they benefit the world far more than we ever give thought to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 3, 2017 / 3:42 pm

      Thank you so much, TheRedBearded, for further spreading this message. Yes, they are so important. So few people really realize, or if they hear something about such things they are ignored because of the perceived insignificance of…just an insect. No, they are so much more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. NaPropasti May 3, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    Bees are fascinating creatures. They form a highly organized society, have a division of labor and keep remarkably busy. My aunt Vera once rescued a drowning bee while swimming across a lake. She gently scooped the bee by hand and swam all the way to the other bank holding her above water. I always remember that story whenever I eat honey or use some of the other fruits of their hard labor, such as wax, pollen, royal jelly, and propolis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 3, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      Aww, she was a true heroine!

      The “bee’s knees” happens to be one of my favorite phrases. I like to use it often, mostly because of my respect and affection for them. It is amazing how animals and insects can be very sophisticated in many ways. The more I learn about them the more respect I have for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pamelaemily09 May 4, 2017 / 3:40 am

    This will be our 3 summer living in our new house and my goal is to plant as many flowers I can. And starting a garden. Save the Bee’s!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight May 4, 2017 / 4:28 am

      Yay! That’s so wonderful! My hubby and I plan to plant some flowers this weekend.

      Like

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