Why celebrate bees?
Celebrate the importance of bees to our food crops and support local beekeepers on May 20. More than 90 crops rely on honeybees for pollination in the US including fruit, fiber, nut and vegetable crops. The crops pollinated by honeybees provide one-third of the food Americans depend on. Honey is the most beneficial and economically important hive product. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Statistics Service, honeybees produced around $399 million of honey in 2016. Beeswax is also an important hive product. Beeswax is popular for making candles, cosmetics, wood, and leather polishes. The pharmaceutical industry uses the substance as a time-release mechanism, drug carrier, and binding agent.
How many bee species are there?
There are almost 20,000 different species of bees in the world. Approximately 4,000 in the United States and about 320 species in Florida. Bees of Florida provides an overview and great pictures, read more here.
How can we help native bees and honeybees?
Plant yellow, white and blue flowers for year-round color in your yard. Foragers must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey. Group your flowering plants in masses. Use this guide to help with designing a landscape for pollinators. Check out his publication about attracting native bees to your landscape here. If pesticides must be used, avoid spraying the flowers so the bee is less likely to encounter the insecticide. Try not to use dusts and wettable powders that will adhere to the thousands of tiny hairs found on the body surface. Avoids spraying harmful pesticides when bees are out foraging. They forage during daylight hours when the temperatures are above 55-60°F. As the sun sets, they return to their hives. Buy bee attracting plants from your local nursery or master gardener plant sales.
Fun facts to share on World bee Day:
- Bees have five eyes, six legs, and two pairs of wings
- Bees fly about 20 mph
- Number of eggs laid by a queen: 2,000 per day is the high
- Losing its stinger will cause a bee to die
- Bees carry pollen on the hind legs in a pollen basket or corbicula
- The average forager makes about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime
- The principal form of communication among honeybees is through chemicals called pheromones