Honey bees do much more than just produce honey, they play a vital role in all sources of plant food production needed by man and animal alike. Honey bees are the best pollinators on the planet, and without plant pollination, there would be no vegetables, fruits or nuts. Flowers would not exist without pollination either, so that would eliminate a vital food source for several animal species. Quite simply, the survival of the human race as we know it today is largely dependent upon the population of honey bees remaining strong and thriving.
Honey bees are the hardest workers a home gardener or commercial plant food grower can have around. Just a couple of bee hives will provide 1,000s of free laborers that will pollinate all garden crops and fruit trees, provide fresh, organic honey and wax for candle making. You won’t have to write them a paycheck at the end of the work week, bees are happy to do their job free of charge.
Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower, the anther, to the stigma, which is the female part of the flower. When the two meet, a plant’s vegetable, fruit, seed or nut is formed. Certain plant species rely on animals to assist with their pollination process, while others can pollinate themselves or rely on the wind to do it for them, but a vast number of them are totally dependent upon bees for their pollination.
Honeybees focus their energies on one species of plant at a time. By visiting the same flowers of a particular species in one outing, much higher quality pollination occurs – rather than spreading many different pollens among different plants that may not be ready for pollination. All plants of one specie are being pollinated by the honeybees at the time the plant is ready, so the food or flowers can be formed at the perfect time.
Food and Beauty
Honey Bees help feed the planet and they make it a beautiful place to live as well. By keeping flowers pollinated, bees perpetuate floral growth and provide attractive habitats for other animals such as insects and birds. The bees also ensure florists stay in business and secure their livelihood by keeping the many species of flowers blooming.
No More Broccoli
Without the pollination of honeybees, there would be no more broccoli. While that might not impact the diet of some people, consider also that there would not be any more apples, asparagus, almonds, cucumbers, cantaloupes, cranberries, blueberries, watermelons and several other foods without honeybees. Honeybees are responsible for an estimated one-sixth of the pollination of the entire world’s food supply
Without help from these flying pollinators, our everyday food supply would look much different – at least one third of our staples we’ve come to rely on would no longer be available.
In addition to providing free crop pollination, honey bees are a lucrative side business. Fresh, organic honey and honeycomb is always in demand and since the bees do all the work creating the cash crop, the profit margin is close to 100%. Natural products made from honeycomb can also bring in additional income.
Attracting Honey Bees
If you don’t want to own and maintain beehives, there are easy ways to attract the buzzing pollinators to your landscape for a visit. Grow a few of their favorite plants and they will come. The best honey bee plants provide a good supply of both sugary nectar and protein-rich pollen, like purple coneflower, common yarrow, sunflowers, hyssop, black-eyed susans and asters. The key is to keep some type of nectar-producing flowers blooming from spring until fall. The bees will enjoy their daily meals in your landscape, pollinating your plants, then return to their hives to deposit the nectar.
Many people are allergic to bee stings and must avoid coming into contact with them. Even if you don’t have an allergic reaction to a sting, they are painful. Use these tips to help avoid stings so cohabitating with these beneficial and essential stinging insects will bring all joy and no pain.
If you choose to have beehives, locate them away from areas where humans and pets travel or play. Place them away from the house, garage, garden, etc. and tuck them in an out-of-the-way location that is still easy for you to access and within a few hundred feet of your garden or orchard.
Wear light colors when spending time outdoors. Honeybees tend to attack dark colors.
Skip the perfume, hairspray or any other type of grooming product that has a floral scent. The scent will alert the honeybees to a potential food source and they might mistake you for lunch.
One way to greatly reduce the damage we do to these amazing creatures is to grow organic, learn how easy it can be here.. So many chemical that are intended for other things end up wiping out the bees in the area, so think before you use chemicals… is it really worth it?