We see insects everywhere. Ants on some fallen food particles, on our trash; dust mites, aphids on some fruits on our back yard, and bees on the flowers in our garden. These minute creatures that sometimes annoy and trigger our phobia are often neglected. But they play crucial roles in maintaining the equilibrium of the ecosystem and life as a whole.
Humans will not survive without the basic needs – food and proper nourishment, shelter, a healthy environment, and body coverings. But to say that humans cannot survive without bees? Is this true? Yes, there’s a big tendency that when all bees disappear, plants will suffer, die off, and will have a huge impact on humans.
Bumblebees, honey bees, carpenter bees, mason bees, leaf cutter bees, and a lot more! There are more than 16 000 known species of bees that can be found almost everywhere. Bees live in all continents except Antarctica. They thrive in every habitat, especially on areas abundant with insect-pollinated flowering plants. Halictidae or sweat bees are the most common bees in the Northern Hemisphere. Due to their size small, they are often mistaken for wasps or flies.
Bees are insects belonging to the superfamily Apoidea, and they are presently considered a clade, called Anthophila. They are flying insects closely related to ants and wasps. They’re notably known for their central role in pollination and the western honey bee for honey production that is an essential ingredient.
Bees have different sizes, and some are stingless. The tiny stingless species have workers that are less than 2 millimeters (0.08 in) long, to Megachile pluto, the largest species of leafcutter bee, with females that have a length of 39 millimeters (1.54 in).
Bees are the experts in Pollination.
In North America alone, there are about 4 000 different species of bees. They vary widely, from cuckoo bees to bumblebees. Some can be as minute as an eight of an inch, but there are bigger ones longer than an inch. They may have metallic green or blue to dark brown or black to striped red or orange.
Unlike our pets, bees are seemingly hard to be appreciated. Suppose people are thankful for bees, its the domesticated species that they are usually grateful for. However, native bees don’t look like “traditional” bees (fuzzy, black, and yellow); these bees are North America’s original residents. They quietly and industriously pollinate crops side by side with the honey bee.
In 2009, the native bees were significantly distributed to the pollination of crops in the United States that were valued at more than $9 billion.
Whether freshly picked fruits such as cherries, apples, oranges, vegetables, or processed fruit juices and coffee, bees help those plants produce fruits for human consumption. Thanks to all bees we can enjoy a range of foods! If you wear clothes made of cotton or enjoy your cotton blanket when you sleep, bees also pollinated the cotton plants, that’s why there were threads harvested to be manufactured like clothes.
The pollens that bees gather to serve as food for their young. They have specialized body parts for pollination, such as their branched hairs called ‘scopae’ or combs of bristles on their legs called pollen baskets. While bees fly searching for food, pollen catches on their bodies and passes between plants. This is where pollination takes place.
Bees are important to a healthy environment.
Bees are natural and fantastic symbols. They are indicators of nature’s condition. If they are slowly disappearing, it is a sign that nature is not in good shape.
This close relationship between plants and their pollinators is evident in the parallel declines seen across the UK and Europe. Seventy-six percent of plants preferred by bumblebees have declined in recent decades, with 71% seeing contractions in their geographical range.
Wildflowers that add color and beauty to the parks we enjoy are almost all pollinated by bees. Flowers such as foxglove, sunflowers, clovers, and vetches rely on bees. The pollination allows plants to survive, bear fruits, set seeds, and breed. Imagine, if there are no bees, we will not anymore see any flower blooming with flowers, or we might not enjoy our healthy diet with vegetables, grains, and fruits.
The health of our natural ecosystems is fundamentally linked to the health of our major pollinators-bees.