The pollination power of the honey bee
If you’ve landed on this blog, chances are it’s because like us, you love bees. These creatures are not only fascinating and highly organised, but absolutely vital for our worldwide agriculture.
If you’re the seasoned beekeeper, a novice, or someone who is just interested in learning more about our buzzy friends, we hope our ever-growing blog will have something for you.
What is pollination?
Simply put, pollination is the process of pollen grains from the male part of a plant (the anther) getting transferred to the female part of the plant (the stigma). This enables fertilisation and the production of seeds. Pollination can happen through the wind blowing, but more than likely, an amazing pollinator has been busy doing its job.
There are many types of pollinating species including butterflies, hover flies, flower beetles, pollen wasps (to name a few), and also, our beloved honey bee.
What makes bees such awesome pollinators?
- If you look really closely at a honey bee, you’ll see how perfect her anatomy is for the job. She’s got hairs covering her legs and body that catch and hold grains of pollen, so if she brushes against the stigma of another flower she visits, cross-pollination is done.
- On the hind legs, there are ‘pollen baskets’ that are used to take the pollen back her hive
- As long as they’re blooming, the honeybee tends to forage on a consistent the kind of flower, which is particularly effective.
- Being able to put a colony in a garden makes the honey bee one of the few pollinating insects that you can choose to be present – guaranteeing good pollination. You can’t exactly do the same with other species.
- Unlike other species that lay dormant all winter and only come out in small numbers in spring while the population of the species is being rebuilt, the honey bees work differently. Over the winter, they are feeding on stored honey and the queen starts to lay eggs at the beginning of the year, making the number of bees in the hive grow even greater. It’s because of this system and rhythm, that when the flowers start to bloom, the bees are ready to do their pollination duties – there’s no holding them back!
Why are bees so important to our food supply?
Around 60 % of the fruit and vegetables we eat need honey bee pollination. To put it another way, one mouthful of food in every three that we eat comes from plants pollinated by bees. That certainly helps to put the importance of these amazing creatures into perspective! Without bees our food supply and economy would be in danger.
“No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
– Albert Einstein
Why keep bees?
There are so many rewards that come from the act of beekeeping (and we will be exploring these in the future) but knowing we are helping to keep the bee population growing and helping the environment is certainly at the top of the list.
We choose to look after them for many reasons, but above all, we do it because they are vital to our world, and we need them.
Inspired to keep bees?
Get in touch with us if you any questions and we’ll be happy to help. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Save The Bees!
You can find more information and input from Simon about the importance of bees in this Twinkl blog: The Importance of Bees: A Bee-ginners Guide.