Bees are often portrayed as perfectly clean, perfectly cute, and perfectly inoffensive creatures who bring joy and beauty to the world through their honey-making ways. Don’t let the way they’re portrayed on beeswax candles, coffee mugs, and children’s toys fool you, though—bees can be pretty buzzworthy themselves! Here are Buzzworthy Bee Everyone Should Know
Bees are dying
Its no secret that bees are dying off at an alarming rate, its also no secret that many crops depend on bee pollination. This is a terrible double whammy for us: not only do we lose bees from farms, but without food to eat, we could be in serious trouble as well.
The disappearance of bees would have a huge impact on food production
bees are responsible for pollinating some of our most important crops, including apples, broccoli, melons and onions. In addition to pollination services, bees produce honey, which is a valuable food source in its own right. More than 100 crops rely on bee pollination, making it difficult to estimate the total value of these services—but one study estimates that they’re worth more than $10 billion per year in North America alone!
Bees don’t only produce honey
It’s true! There are more than 20,000 species of bees worldwide, and over 1,500 in North America alone. Honeybees (Apis melliferra) may be the most famous for their role in pollinating food crops and producing honey, but there are many other important native bees that play an important role as well.
Bumblebees make their homes underground
Bumblebees aren’t stinging pests, but they will sting you if you invade their hives. They also love to be alone: Solitary bees are neither social nor protective and don’t live in colonies or hives. A bee can only sting once: A bee dies immediately after she uses her stinger because it holds its poison sac.
Honeybees are pretty picky when it comes to pollen
They have their own preferences for pollen color, scent, and size. But of all these preferences, there’s one that’s pretty unusual—and it might just spell trouble for our honeybees in the future.
Stingless bees do sting, but they can be handled without being harmed.
Stingless bees are a widespread native species in Central and South America. There are multiple tribes that have been keeping these bees for centuries; in fact, many of them use honey produced by stingless bees to sweeten drinks like chichas and fermented pineapple drinks (known as zapotes). In addition to making honey, stingless bees are also used as pollinators. Some traditional beekeepers even maintain colonies of stingless bees in tandem with European honeybees.