The Brilliance of Bees
You’ve probably heard the importance of honeybees by now. The work they do for pollination is worth billions of dollars – it’s significantly more crucial to both us and the entire planet’s survival over their honey-making!
Every third mouthful of food we consume has come from pollination and this is purely down to insects like bees. Not just food, they are responsible for pollinating important crops such as cotton and flax, which are used for clothes and linen.
It is the female bees – also known as “worker” bees – who do the flying around for miles to collect nectar and pollen to bring back to the hive.
The male bees – known as “drones” – only have one job, which is to mate with the Queen Bee. They die shortly after their sole purpose in life has been completed.
Honeybees have five eyes: two large “compound eyes” on the side of their head to pick up shapes and colours in the immediate environment; and three simple eyes, known as “ocelli”, for navigation and orientation. The compound eyes enable bees to see the ultra-violet markers on the flowers that we humans can’t even see, and they guide the bee onto the petal or “landing platform”.
Honeybees also have an insane sense of smell – it is 50 times stronger than a dogs! They are attracted to sweet and sugary smells from miles away, which explains why they are often attracted to soft drinks, fruits, and even some flowery perfumes and skincare products.
Pollination is the movement of pollen from the anthers of a flower to the stigma of the same or different flower.
When landing on a flower, the bees collect the pollen on their legs. As they move from flower to flower, they leave a little bit of that pollen on each new flower they visit. They have little brushes on their legs which they use to remove it.
The bees also collect nectar from flowers. Nectar is the sweet liquid that entices the bees to the flower. They climb onto or into the flower and suck up the nectar with their straw-like mouth and collect it in a little sac called a crop – this is also known as their “honey stomach”.
Honeybees use several parts of their body to build a honeycomb. Wax for the comb is produced within the worker bee's body. Other workers chew this wax to soften it; then they add it to the honeycomb. The hexagon shape ensures the maximum amount of honey can be held using as little wax as possible. It is also an efficient use of space because they fit tightly together.
Newly hatched worker bees vigorously “fan” their wings over the nectar, causing the liquid inside the cells to slowly dehydrate. The drying process, along with natural enzymes added to the nectar, transforms the relatively thin liquid into a much thicker honey.
Once the honeycomb is filled, the bees “cap” the cell with an airtight wax seal. Capping the honeycomb in beeswax keeps it from becoming contaminated.
You can help #savethebees too!
Unfortunately, honeybees are in decline due to natural factors like climate change and human factors such as excessive use of pesticides. How can we help support these amazing little creatures?
- Leave out a bee bath. Place some stones in a bowl of water so the bees can have a drink without drowning
- If you find a hive, leave them be and contact relevant authorities to move it elsewhere without harming the bees
- If you see a bee coming towards you, we understand it can be hard not to react but stay calm and don’t harm it!
- To make 1kg of honey, bees need to fly the equivalent of 3 times around earth
- Bees beat their wings 200 times a second - making them buzz!
- A Queen Bee can live 10 times longer than ordinary female bees
- Queen Bees have attendants who wash and feed them around the clock
- A Queen will kill her own mother (brutal, right!?)
- A Queen lays over 2000 eggs a day and can produce over 1 million offspring in her lifetime
- A bee only produces a teaspoon of honey in her life, which means there is an impossible amount of honey in the world for the number of honeybees. This leads to the conclusion that a lot of honey has been watered down and had artificial sweeteners added.
Therefore, you should only shop for 100% natural, raw honey, like ours at Blossom Honey. We have completed all lab tests for quality and authenticity. Visit us on the first floor of Times Square Center to try some for yourself or browse our website here.