At BugMaster we love bees. Honey bees. Bumble bees. You name a bee, we love ‘em. Instead of being on our ‘to kill’ list, bees are in fact on our VIP list. Bees play a vital role in maintaining a balanced eco-system and providing humans with food. They facilitate plant reproduction and some foods that would disappear if bees were no longer around including apples, cranberries, cucumbers, broccoli, almonds, and pumpkins. (Could you imagine Halloween without pumpkins? Oh, the horror!) Here’s 7 o-so-important reasons why bees are the best bugs in the business, and why we need to make sure they stick (and keep buzzing) around.
POWER TO THE POLLINATION
We rely on bees to pollinate one-sixth of the world’s flowering plants, as well as about 400 different species of plants important in agriculture and the food we eat. These little black and yellow buzzers are integral to the very foundation of our food chain, from fruits and vegetables to nuts and flowers.
TOP CROP SHOPPERS
Honey bees are vital for the pollination of fruit, vegetables and hybrid canola seed. Well pollinated crops produce more fruit with honey bees increasing production by 2-8 times. Cross-pollination from bees helps 30% of the world’s food crops and 90% of wild plants to grow. That means, without bees, most of the plants, including food and native plants, would go extinct. In short, losing bees would be nothing short of an ecological disaster.
GIVE ME THE MONEY HONEY
Statistics show that in the United States alone more than $15 billion a year in US crops are pollinated by bees, including apples, berries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, alfalfa, and almonds. US honey bees also produce about $150 million in honey annually. In Canada, the value of honey bees to pollination of crops is estimated at over $2 billion annually.
Honey is a by-product of the bees’ back-and-forth cross-pollination excursions. Bees use honey as winter food, and we use it as a topping or sweetener that also has powerful antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Beeswax is a natural, organic substance used to make candles, lip balm, moisturisers, and cosmetics. Worker bees produce royal jelly, which is a milky substance used to feed their queen. Royal jelly contains vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids and is considered a health food for humans. Even a bee’s venom can be used to help develop products that treat stings and even alleviate arthritis pain.
A JOB FOR LIFE
Honey bee colonies consist of a queen, hundreds of male drones and 20,000 to 60,000 female worker bees. The worker bees live for about 6 weeks and do nothing but work. Now that’s dedication to the job.
THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK
To make just one pound of honey, hundreds of honey bees will visit up to 2 million flowers and fly 55,000 miles. That means that one bee will produce about 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of honey in her lifetime. Canadian bees produces 75 million pounds of honey annually, with half of that exported, fuelling Canadian businesses.
Intensive agriculture, climate change and new bee-diseases all mean that bee numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate and our food supply is at serious risk. Our ecosystem exists in a state of harmony and balance, and when one component of that ecosystem is out of sync, the whole system can be thrown out of whack. And what’s the best thing you can do to help bees? Leave them alone. Don’t swat ‘em. Don’t call BugMaster. Don’t use pesticides. Leave the bees be and let them get on with what they do best. Just thank the little gal (all worker bees are female) for all the work they do for the planet, and for you.