I want you to take a moment to think about soybeans, wheat, rice, and oats. These foods are wind pollinated food items that are pollinated by the help of the wind. Now take a moment to think about the other food you drink and eat. Teas, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are a daily part of our life and are pollinated by bees. This means more than 70% of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. Animals also get the benefits of eating many of these plants and flowers. Bees are very important to how our world works and functions on a daily basis.
Some of the questions we hear a lot at The Honey Cottage are: Why are bees important? Are there only honeybees? How can we help Save the Bees?
Why are bees important?
Bees are vital to our ecosystem; bees pollinate almost all our food supply. Bees go from one flower to the next and collect nectar to make honey. The male part of the flower is the stamen and it produces the pollen. The pollen sticks onto the bee’s body hairs and are then transported to the next flower. Flowers need 10 granules of pollen to make pollination happen and produce seed or food. The granules of bee pollen stick to the stigma of the female flowers, which goes down the pistil, and into the ovule. This allows the seeds and fruits to be produced and consumed by humans and animals.
Are there only honeybees?
Honeybees are NOT the only bees we should be worried about. At The Honey Cottage we are constantly showing our customers that the honey bee is not the only bee on this planet. There are 20,000 different species of bees and they are ALL important. There are some bees that are better at pollinating our food supplies than honeybees. For example, bumble bees are able to do buzz pollination to shake the pollen out of tomato plants. Orchid bees generally only pollinate orchid plants. Leaf cutting bees are best for pollinating alfalfa. Many of these bees are designed to pollinate only certain types of plants. They are different sizes, shapes, or their proboscis only extends a short distance. Honeybees are wonderful, but we also need to work hard to stop pushing out the native bees that live with us too! Many of these bees are solitary; they only make a little honey to feed themselves and that is it.
How can we help Save the Bees?
The biggest and best role we can take to help bees is to plant more flowering plants and stop using pesticides. The biggest food source for bees should not be sugar water or corn syrup pellets. Bees are not livestock and they matter just as much as humans do. We understand there are emergencies in which bees need to have food, but sugar water or corn syrup should not be what bees solely live on. Do you want good honey? Bees want it too! Planting flowers allows the bees to be as healthy as we are when we eat their honey.
I am the Bee Queen and I am the bee’s voice, for they do not have one. Please take the time to help bees by planting flowers. Help beekeepers by allowing them to not need to use emergency feed. Please put in more plant gardens. Please help the bees win the battle against rock gardens taking over entire landscaping projects.
From our hive to yours,