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All About Bees
A World Without Bees….
Can you image a world without the humble honeybee?
Good Things Come in Small Packages
Despite weighing in at just one tenth of a gram, a bee is a powerhouse relative to crop production. Pollinating everything from fruit trees to flowering vegetables, these tiny insects keep plants and crops alive, with one third of our global food supply depending on products pollinated by bees. Put simply, without them, we wouldn’t have very much to eat.
Bees at Risk
While honeybees do not yet appear on the endangered species list, farmers and politicians lament their dwindling numbers. The dismay is easy to understand, since the value of pollination-dependent crops number in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Like other species, bees face the same environmental challenges as other species:
- Climate change
- Habitat loss
- Non-native species
Thankfully these risks can be reduced. For instance, homeowners can establish backyard beehives and take steps to make their yards more bee-friendly. In fact, from Boise to San Diego, homeowners are embracing backyard beehives. This fun hobby not only provides honey but also supports local bee populations.
Corporations can also help. In fact, one agricultural firm not only manages 82,000 hives and produces four to five million pounds of honey each year, but also relocates hives from one farm to another to give bees the chance to act as pollinators.
Pollination for Dummies
Have you ever wondered exactly how pollination works? For the uninitiated, flowers consist of several parts, including the male stamens which produce pollen and female parts called the pistil. While some plants self-pollinate, with pollen moving from the stamen to the stigma. Pollination by animals such as bees occurs accidentally and, so, is considered a “miracle of nature.” As bees extract nectar from plants, their bellies rub against the stamen, covering them in yellow pollen. When they move onto a new flower, some of the pollen transfers to the stigma.
Tips for Becoming apiarist (Fancy Talk for a Beekeeper):
- Check the law. Beekeeping is not legal in every location; so make sure you’re in compliance.
- Gather necessary supplies. Put your hive and protective equipment in place before the hive arrives.
- Talk to your neighbors. Proactively alert the neighborhood about your beekeeping plans.
- Read about honey extraction. You will want to remove the honey so it places the least amount of stress on bees as possible.
- Work with bees in optimal conditions, using a smoker to calm them and outfitting yourself in proper apparel.
Welcome Bees to Your Yard
Even if you don’t have plans to become a beekeeper, you can assist local bee populations by encouraging bees to visit your yard, which will help them thrive in your community. This is crucial, since local honey can treat everything from seasonal allergies to curing indigestion.
- Keep them alive. Honeybees are docile unless someone threatens the hive. So, unless the location of a hive poses a hazard to your children or pets, leave it alone.
- Encourage flowering plants. At Riverside Flower Club, we love this tip! To attract bees, plant a variety of flowering plants, including some that might even be considered weeds.
- Offer a water source. Keep fresh water on the outskirts of your property, so community swimming pools aren’t the only game in town.
Despite the occasional sting, bees are our friends. After all; we need flowers as well as food, so it stands to reason, we need bees.
Since 2008, the Riverside Flower Club has offered a stunning selection of bouquets to residents of Riverside and the surrounding area. Flowers are available for any imaginable occasion such as “get well,” birthdays, anniversaries, sympathy, new baby celebrations, weddings. Custom bouquets can be expertly arranged and delivered quickly. For more information, visit www.riversideflowerclub.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (951) 784-0960.