The scientific name of honey bees is Apis mellifera, and they belong to the family Apidae. There are approximately 7–12 species of honey bees known, and the life span of these flying insects is between 1–2 months. Honey bees are one the integral parts of the ecosystem, we all are dependent upon them and if honey bees become extinct we won't be able to survive well, the environment would greatly suffer and most importantly the food chain would collapse, therefore we need to take special care of these organisms and have to prevent them from getting extinct.
Let us now look over a few facts that make honey bees so important.
What is pollination and how it contributes to honey production?
Honey bees are one of the major sources of pollination, and almost 80% of flowering plants pollinate due to them. The mechanism starts when a honey bee lands over a flower to suck the nectar, the pollen grains present on the anther get adhered to the hairs, the bee flies off and lands on another flower in close vicinity, transferring the pollen grains upon the stigma; that is how the plant population increases via honey bees.
Honey Bees activity timing and duration
Although honey bees can perform this activity at any time of the day, the best time when they show utmost efficiency is between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. According to research, honey bees facilitate the pollination of almost 100 flowering plants in a single trip and one honey bee makes a minimum of 10-15 trips in a day, but there are shreds of evidence that almost 4000 to 5000 flowers get pollinated by a single honey bee daily. Now, what if the honey bees go extinct? What will be the consequences and what prices we would have to pay as a result? Due to this major factor of pollination, our food chain remains stable.
Suitable Plants and Flowers
We get various types of fruits and vegetables, the herbivores also feed upon the plants necessary for their survival. In case honey bees vanish, humans simply would become food deprived that is the production of fruits and vegetables would decrease due to which the costs would raise and many people due to unaffordability will suffer from malnutrition. The animals won't be able to survive for long which is why the meat production and dairy supply would affect badly as well. These are the major causes why we say honey bees are way more important than we imagine, our life, health, and somehow wealth in terms of the economy are dependent upon this eusocial flying insect. One of the solutions includes planting bee-friendly flower seeds worldwide to increase their population.
Other products that we get from Honey bees
Besides pollination, we also get other products from honey bees which include
- Royal jelly
As we all know, the main attraction for a honey bee in a flower is its nectar, they have a straw-like organ called a proboscis which helps it suck the nectar from the flower, this nectar goes inside the gut and is converted into inverted sugar by the help of invertase enzyme present in the gut and becomes honey, it is this invert sugar that makes honey sweeter than table sugar.
Although honey is sweeter as compared to normal sugar, the health threat is less and the chances of developing diabetes due to ingesting honey are less than table sugar because it is a natural product. Besides this, honey prevents aging due to its antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory, and has antibiotic effects against many gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial species.
Royal jelly is a milky substance excreted by worker bees to nourish the queen bees, royal jelly is used as a supplement as it also has countless benefits for human health. It has been found that royal jelly helps in lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Beeswax is obtained from the beehive and is used as an emulsifying, solidifying, and lubricating agent in various pharmaceutical preparations. It has shown to have benefits over human skin and is also used for waterproofing and coating of various metals
Bee venom which is released in defense is nontoxic and only causes a little irritation and swelling because of the release of allergic mediators. It is also found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
Propolis is bee glue which is a mixture of nectar, resins, beeswax, and various plant components used by bees to fill up spaces and cracks. Propolis has the same health benefits as other bee products.