Survival of the bees – Aotea Store

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Survival of the bees

Awareness has significantly grown around the world about not just the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture, but the fact that it is killing bee populations at an alarming rate.

Bees are important for our ecosystems for the role they play in flower fertilization. It was once said that if the bee population were to go extinct, the human population would also go extinct, four years later, such is the importance of their role in flower fertilization.

The problem with monoculture industrial farming (farming acres and acres of a single crop) is that it depletes the soil of nutrients. To compensate for the challenges to the plant, farmers use chemical insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These chemical controls, such as neonicotinoids and glysophate, weaken and kill bees.

There are other strains on bees. Monocropping means no diversity of flowers for the bees to pollinate, which does not provide a healthy environment for the bees.

Further, using bees in an abusive way is a horrible practice. Trucking bees around to pollinate areas is incredibly stressful for the bees. Feeding bees sugar weakens their immune system.

All of these factors have led to colony collapse disorder.

2) Role bees play in our ecosystem

In Asia, people have taken to the absurd practice of pollinating flowers with paintbrushes because the dying out of bees has meant no pollinators.

This testifies to the vital role that bees play in our ecosystem.

There are several different types of bee in a hive. A drone bee is a male bee. Drones do not have stingers. They gather neither nectar nor pollen. A drone’s only role is to mate with an unfertilized queen. A queen bee’s role is to mate with drones and she is the mother of most, if not all the bees in the hive. A worker bee is any female bee that lacks the full reproductive capacity of the colony’s queen. Honey bee workers gather pollen into the pollen baskets on their back legs and carry it back to the hive where it is used as food for the developing brood. Pollen carried on their bodies may be carried to another flower where a small portion can rub off onto the pistil, resulting in cross pollination.

The other useful role bees play is producing honey. They suck nectar out of flowers through the proboscis. The nectar mixes with enzymes in the stomach, and is vomited up as honey.

The average life span of a worker bee is a few months. It can be up to 6-8 months. To interact with bees sustainably we need to make sure we are only taking a little bit of honey or beeswax from them, allowing enough food to tide the hive over through the winter months and maintaining the structure of the hive.