Buzzing around from flower to flower, seeming to chase you around the yard, and delightful in color is the honeybee. And when you find one, the hive is not too far away. They are highly social and communicate using stimuli such as light, chemical, and physical, sensory messages. And that is well and good. But what is special about honeybees?
You see, these bees have been highly valued since ancient times for all they do for the planet. Things like mites and over-demand have decreased the populations, causing much concern for the entire world. But why would we be so concerned over a tiny flying insect? Keep reading to learn more about why the honeybee is so remarkable.
The honeybee is a flying insect that is a relative of the wasp and the ant. And they are found everywhere but Antarctica. These bees have two wings, two antennae, and a three-segmented body. Most importantly, they have a proboscis similar to a straw to drink nectar deep in the flowers.
Furthermore, honeybees are divided into three adult castes – queen, drone, and worker. These bees live in colonies and cooperate for the good of the hive. The drones are for mating and do no real work around the hive. Honeybee workers essentially do all the work, caring for the larvae and queen, pollination, and honey producing. And, the workers are the bees with a barbed stinger attached to a poison sac. When they sting a person, the stinger detaches from the bee’s body, and the bee will die.
As for the queen, her main job is to take a nuptial flight, then retreat to the inner hive to lay eggs.
In the Hive
This is where the honeybees are the most fascinating. Sure, their flight and dances are beautiful to watch. But if you could peer into a day in the life of a worker making honey, it is truly a work of art. So, you know the bees go from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen on the sides of their legs. As they carry the nectar back to the hive, their wonderfully created bodies break down the complex sucrose into fructose and glucose.
Once the bees arrive back at the hive, they will place the sugars into a honeycomb cell. Then they have the task of getting the excess moisture out of the liquid to turn it into the concentrate we call honey. And how do they do that? They beat their wings over the top of the sticky sweet liquid until it thickens and is perfect honey. Then when they determine it is ready, they will cap the cell with a wax covering. Truly amazing!
Now, that substance used as a wax seal is actually called propolis. It is a combination of honey, beeswax, and tree resins. Incredibly, propolis is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antifungal to keep the honey in perfect condition for consumption. In addition, honeybees will use the substance to seal cracks in the hive and keep it all working as it should.
Also, in the hive, the queen will lay her eggs. Workers newly hatched have the job of cleaning out the cells and preparing them for new eggs. And as they work their way up the system, they will work to groom and care for the queen and eventually take flight for collecting the pollen and nectar.
Honeybees are a Significant Part of Our Ecosystem
In order to comprehend the vital importance of the honeybee in our ecosystem, you must genuinely get the impact of pollination. The U.S Forest Service defines pollination as such,
“Pollination is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. The goal of every living organism, including plants, is to create offspring for the next generation. One of the ways that plants can produce offspring is by making seeds. Seeds contain the genetic information to produce a new plant.”
Without insects to pollinate crops and wild plants, the flowers would not bloom. Trees would not flourish and reproduce, and the entire flora of the planet would decline rapidly. And as a part of that intricate system of pollen and seed disbursement, the honeybees are one of the most abundant and efficient in the world. In fact, they will visit over 2,000 flowers on a good day. And that process increases the chances of fruit and vegetable production.
The Honeybee Pollinators
The fact is, without bees, pollination would be quite an effort. Not only do they pollinate for food for themselves, but also most of the commercial crops and wild plants of the planet.
In North America alone, honeybees are commercial pollinators for over 100 crops. Those dependent on the honeybee include almonds, alfalfa, apples, avocados, blue and blackberries, cherries, citrus- like oranges and limes, cranberries, cucumbers, melons, raspberries, squashes- like pumpkin and zucchini, strawberries and watermelon, too. That is quite a list; we are sure you’d agree.
For other crops, they may not be dependent, but they still rely on the honeybee pollination and would be reduced if they were not present.
The Decline of the Honeybee
By now, in this article, you can clearly see the importance of the honeybee. We rely on these insects to keep crops and the earth itself healthy. Unfortunately, their numbers are decreasing by the billions. Several factors go into this rapid decline.
- When the varroa mite parasite bites a bee, it will infect that bee with a fatal virus.
- Pesticides limit the diet of the honeybees, creating a lack in their nutritional consumption.
- And the elimination of hives by those who do not know how special bees are.
“… in 2016, 44% of managed beehives in the US died. The number of managed honeybee colonies in the United States has declined steadily over the past 60 years, from 6 million colonies (beehives) in 1947 to 4 million in 1970, 3 million in 1990, and just 2.5 million today. Overwintering loss rates have increased from the historical rate of 10-15% to approximately 30%, and beekeepers have collectively lost approximately 10 million beehives.” –Planetbee.org
With staggering statistics like these, companies who control insects and wildlife have the ultimate responsibility to cooperate with the local laws and relocate the bees to approved sites. Preservation is key to the survival of the honeybee and the entire planet.
Covenant Wildlife Removal is dedicated to keeping the planet healthy as we cooperate with nature and wildlife.
After all the information we have given you today, you may be in awe of the beauty of the honeybee and its unique benefits to the earth. However, we also understand you do not want a massive hive on your back porch or in the tree where your children play. And that is all right.
Did you know there are bee rescues and relocators? Covenant Wildlife Removal is one of the companies ready to assist when you need a beehive removed and relocated. You see, beekeepers are overjoyed to hear there is a nest being “rescued” and repurposed for conservation.
So, if you have a hive on your property, take the following notes and give Covenant Wildlife a call.
- Please make sure they are indeed honeybees.
- Note where they are located and what the hive is attached to.
- If you know how long they have been there, that is a good thing to indicate.
- Compare the hive to the size of a ball or a fruit or the like.
- Take photos of the hive and the area.
And please remember never to spray a beehive.
Covenant Wildlife Removal and the Honeybees
Covenant Wildlife provides honeybee removal services for residents in the Greater Birmingham, Alabama area. And we are dedicated to providing the best service in the wildlife removal industry and allows the integrity and ethics with which the company approaches its duties to speak for itself.
Covenant Wildlife will inspect your property and assess the safest and most affordable manner to relocate the hive and bees. We will also provide you with a blueprint on how to guard against the possibility of future infestations.
If a colony of honeybees has taken up residence at your home, you should reach out to Covenant Wildlife at 205-805-5760. You can also reach the company by using this online contact form.
We look forward to the buzz on your honeybee colony.