All Things Bees!
Apiaries, Bee Products, Bee Population, And More!
Fun Facts About Bees and All They Do For Us
The bee. To most, they are pesky pests, that are either bothersome or allergy-inducing. If one (or more) are in your yard, you don’t run right up and want to make friends, instead, you avoid them or take out the giant can of spray to make sure they never, EVER bother you again. We don’t stop to think about how those little yellow and black-wearing bumbles dramatically impact our lives.
Bees are a type of insect that is known as a pollinator. They travel from flower to plant and back again cross-pollinating plants, flowers, and crops, in order to feast on nectar, which in turn provides them with energy. In order for plants to survive, they need fertilization, and the way that happens is through pollination from bees. Wind also can play a part in the pollination of plants, but this process from a bee is far more effective. Bees also carry pollen on their legs and take it back to their nest or hive.
One out of every 3 bites of food depends on a pollinator, and over 100 crops grown in the United States depend on them for their survival. Bees are the key to giving us a varied and nutritious diet, and boy, do they work hard. The economic value of the work done by the honey bee is over $303 billion annually across the world. According to Greenpeace, “Honey bees — wild and domestic — perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts, and vegetables are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops — which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition — are pollinated by bees.”
Some crops, such as almonds, would not even exist if it were not for the bee. Other crops such as tomatoes and peppers are also dependent on the bee.
The importance of the bee to crops is so important, that in some cases, farmers rely on farmers of another industry - beekeeping. Hives from local beekeepers are often rented out to farmers to assist with the pollination of their crops.
Bees In Danger
Sadly, in today’s world, there are many circumstances that have led to the loss of scores of bees which has greatly affected crops around the world.
This is due to several reasons:
- Environmental Changes - Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of the global land surface, and up to $577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss
- Changing Climate - Shifting weather patterns have confused bees on what time of year it is and what they should be doing
- Increased land development depletes flower-rich habitats, and valuable land space for bee colonies
- Heavy Use of Pesticides - People want green lawns, and beautiful flowers, as well as pest-free gardens, however, this all comes at the price of killing native bees.
What the Heck Is an Apiary?
Though the word apiary may have you thinking of the zoo, it actually is a name for a plot of land that contains beehives and is managed by a beekeeper. Derived from two Latin words, “Apis mellifera” is the Latin word for the honey bee. This first word is the genus “Apis” meaning bee, and the second word “mellifera” means honey bearing.
Apiaries come in many forms. They can range from small hobby farms to larger commercial businesses - all involved in the keeping of bees. There are beekeepers in every state to provide honey and other bee products to the general public.
Bees are not only beneficial to the world's food population but also to the other products that they have a hand in producing. When one thinks of bees, a common association is, of course, honey. One look at this morning's cereal box probably was a good reminder. A typical hive can produce up to 400 pounds of honey per year.
- Honey is used not only for consumption as a sweetener or flavoring, but it also fights infection and is used to help treat burn victims. Honey is used commercially for food, skin creams, anti-aging lotions, and medical wound ointments. As bees collect nectar and pollen from the flowers and plants they visit, back at home they use them to make honey and other bee byproducts.
- "Bee Bread" is fermented pollen mixed with honey and bee saliva, and is now considered a pollen superfood.
- Royal Jelly - A milk-like substance that essentially is bee saliva. It offers anti-aging benefits as well as boosts the immune system, and aids in the treatment of inflammation.
- Bee Venom - Used in "bee sting therapy" to treat arthritis, joint swelling, and pain. It is also used in skin care for reducing wrinkles and acne.
- Propolis (bee glue) - is a mixture of pollen and beeswax. It is rich in flavonoids (antioxidants) and is believed to be beneficial as an antibacterial agent, an antioxidant, and has wound healing qualities.
- Pollen - is also said to be helpful in boosting liver function, lowering cholesterol, and reducing inflammation.
Hankering for honey or other bee products? Here is a list of a few of our local apiaries in the Kansas City area. Before purchasing the plastic bear of honey in the grocery store, consider visiting one of these local resources for a high-quality bee product.
The McBee's Knees Apiary and Gifts
500 Main St, Cowgill, MO 64037
3329 S 142nd St, Bonner Springs, KS 66012
531 Dawson St, Easton, KS 66020
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