20th of May 2020
As we know, bees are an extremely important part of our eco systems on earth.
Our beloved bees not only make the delicious honey which most of us enjoy from time to time, they also have many other very important purposes. One thing bees are very skilled at is pollination, this is very important as it assists nature in many ways. Bees are also a very crucial part of human agriculture. Without bees it would be extremely difficult to pollinate our crops.
Bees also produce the only natural occurring wax which is also very useful to us humans for things such as: cotton beeswax wraps, candles, skin care, fabric waterproofing, wood polish, soap, snowboard/ski wax or surfboard wax that wont leave toxic chemicals behind like man made synthetic waxes do. The list goes on!
A single beehive or bee colony may produce 100 to 200 pounds of extra honey, depending on your climate, but most of the beeswax remains in the hive for the bees’ use. A beekeeper will be able to retrieve just 2 to 4 pounds of excess wax from that same bee colony.
While our planet warms as a result of climate change, bees and their very important role in nature becomes jeopardised. Hence why we have world bee day! We all need to learn of the importance of bees and what we can do to ensure their place in our eco systems because without them... we simply might not bee! *pun intended...
Our bees are not only at risk to global warming but more immediately there are seriously at risk to man made pesticides. How do pesticides affect the bee? The pesticides attack the central nervous system of the bee, leading to muscle paralysis and death. See image below:
See article Why Bee Extinction Would Mean the End of Humanity
See article What Happens if Honeybees Disappear
See article: The effects of climate change on pollination
Did you know?
That the worker bees are all females?
The male bees are known as 'Drones' and their primary purpose is to fertilize a new queen, each drone dies immediately after mating, since the process of insemination requires a lethally convulsive effort.
Did you know?
The western honey bee or European honey bee is the most common of the 7–12 species of honey bees worldwide.
Did you know?
The genus name Apis is Latin for "bee", and mellifera is the Latin for "honey-bearing"
Often overlooked are our native bees! Beeing that European honey bees (Apis mellifera) have been so widely spread throughout the world because of their super efficiency at making honey. Although many native bees are solitary and don't produce honey, this does not mean they are any less important... In fact native bees are often more efficient at pollination than the well know European honey bee.
Did you know? Wild pollinators are responsible for at least half of the pollination in agriculture, are even more efficient and provide better crop quality because of better pollination.
Australia alone has around 1,700 species of native bees, with more species being discovered each year.
Our largest species is a Great Carpenter Bee, up to 24 mm long. Our smallest species is a minute Quasihesma bee, less than 2 mm long. They can be furry or shiny, and they come in a startling range of colours: black, red, green, yellow... even with blue polka dots!
Among the most popular the Blue Banded Bee.
Although honey bees get all the credit, native pollen bees actually do the bulk of the work. Unlike the very social honeybees, most of the pollen bees live solitary lives. Most native pollen bees actually work more efficiently than honey bees, they stay closer to home and therefore concentrate on pollination of a smaller area. Native bees work faster, visiting more plants in shorter amount of time.
Unlike the honeybees, both the male and female native pollen bees are workers and they also begin working a little earlier in spring as apposed to the honey bees.
Social species of Australian native bees do produce honey, but not much as European honey bees. In cool-climate areas of Australia, all the honey the bees produce is needed to feed the swarm to live through winter.
Collecting honey from Australian native bee nests can cause many of the bees to drown in spilt honey. The honey is tangy in comparison with commercial honey taken from the European Honey bee. The bees store their honey in "small resinous pots which look like bunches of grapes".
Different species of Australian native bees have different habits and preferences to each other in collecting pollen, therefore different species of native bees are more efficient at collecting pollen from specific plant species than others. Native Australian bees face many threats, particularly from parasitic insects such as some wasps, flies and beetles.
Thanks for reading 🌻🐝🌏