Bees produce a variety of products that benefit people, such as honey, pollen, beeswax, royal jelly and propolis.
They also play a vital role in our food supply by pollinating crops like almonds. However, as more and more beekeepers become involved in hobby beekeeping, they’re not actually helping wild bees – and may be doing more harm than good.
Pollination occurs when a flower anther (male reproductive part) transfers pollen grains to the stigma (female reproductive part). This process allows plants, including many food crops, to reproduce and produce seeds.
Pollinators, like bees, are vital to the success of flowers and plant reproduction. They play a key role in the global ecosystem and are threatened by the use of insecticides, habitat loss, land-use changes and climate change.
Bees have unique adaptations that help them collect and transport pollen from one flower to the next. For example, they have fine hairs on their legs that cling to tiny particles of pollen.
They also have pollen baskets on their hind legs that hold pollen when they return to the hive.
Pollination helps plants, including many food crops, to reproduce so they can provide us with the nutrients we need to live. It also increases crop yields and can improve the quality of fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils and other plants that we depend on for our health and livelihood.
The world’s food crops depend on bee pollination, and without them, our global diet would be severely compromised. Bees help plants like apples, pumpkins, almonds, clover and alfalfa produce the fruits and vegetables that make up our diets.
Bees also produce valuable bee products like royal jelly and beeswax, which are used in a variety of ways including health and beauty products. They can be sold as is or made into value-added products such as lip balm or candles.
Honeybees forage for nectar and pollen on the ground, a key source of energy for them during their flights. The nectar provides carbohydrates, and the pollen contains proteins, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Beekeepers can help bees by providing their colonies with a healthy diet and protecting them from stressors such as poor nutrition, pathogens, parasites and sublethal exposure to pesticides. For example, some beekeepers feed a drug called fumagillin to reduce damage by nosema disease.
Medicine helps bees by keeping them healthy and safe from a variety of diseases. Some diseases, such as American foulbrood (AFB), can be controlled with antibiotics, but they must be prescribed and administered by a veterinarian.
Aside from helping to control the spread of diseases, medications also help bees live longer and healthier lives. For example, antimicrobials can prevent diseases such as Nosema from spreading to the hive.
For these reasons, many beekeepers are turning to medicinal products from a source they trust. These products include pollen, honey, propolis and Royal jelly.
Bee pollen is a nutritional supplement for bees, providing them with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It also has immune-enhancing properties.
For the past decade, beekeepers have seen a decline in the health of their hives. The main culprit is Varroa mites, which are highly resistant to the chemicals and other methods used to fight them.
Whether you’re a beginner looking to get your mitts dirty or a beekeeper looking for new ideas, there’s no shortage of ways to help these hardworking pollinators.
While beekeeping can be a bit of a commitment (it’s no secret that the queen is a prick), it can also be an incredibly rewarding hobby. Taking care of your own honey-making machine will require a little time, some knowledge and a modest amount of elbow grease.
The best way to do this is by making sure your home or business has a great spot to put your hives in the sun. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many people overlook this important consideration. It might also help to consider your local laws and regulations. For example, in some states, beekeeping is not allowed on certain properties. It might also be worth checking with your local government to see if there are any restrictions on keeping a hive or bees in your yard.