From Buzz to Zombified: Bee Basics for the Inexperienced

A walk through a field of beautiful wildflowers in summer is always accompanied by a familiar buzzing sound. This sound is created by the fast movement of the wings of an insect that is hard at work among the flowers – a bee. There are numerous types of bees, and the insects are very important to our environment.

All About Bees

There are roughly 25,000 species of bees throughout the world. In the United States, there are approximately 4,000 different species of bees, while the United Kingdom only has around 250. All bees are part of the super-family Apoidea. However, there are seven to nine recognized families within that super-group that refer to bees. Those families have certain distinctions to determine what bees are grouped together.

Some commonly known types of bees include honey bees, bumblebees and stingless bees. All three of these bees are within the family Apidae. These types are what you generally think of when you see a bee and hear a buzz or talk about a bee hive. Other families include:

* Andrenidae – includes mining bees. This family is thought to include 13,000 species of bees, as it includes the genera Andrena.
* Colletidae – includes plasterer and yellow-face bees. This group has about 2,000 species.
* Dasypodaidae – mainly found in Africa. This group includes 100 species categorized into eight genera.
* Hallictadae – group known as sweat bees. This family includes bees smaller in size. They are usually dark in colour, although some genera have markings in red, yellow or green hues.
* Megachilidae – includes leafcutter and mason bees. These bees are solitary bees, rather than those that live in hives.
* Meganomiidae – also found in Africa. This group includes 10 species categorized into four genera.
* Melittidae – found in Africa. This group includes 60 species of bees, categorized into four genera.
* Stenotritidae – found in Australia. There are 21 species categorized into two genera. This group was originally part of the family Colletidae, but it was segmented into its own category.

Honey Bees and Bumblebees: What to Know

Pollination

Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from flower to flower. The pollen starts on the male part of the flower, called the anther. It is then carried, through various means of transportation, to the female part of the flower, known as the stigma. Once this process is complete, the plant can create seeds and ensure the continuation of the species.

I had to transport quite a large amount of bees recently and was stuck for transport options so ended up using a 9 seater car hire. Perhaps not the most ideal situation but it got the job done.

Procreation is important to making sure the plant does not die off permanently. Therefore, the transportation of pollen is a necessary job handled by the wind, different animals and bees. The pollen must be transferred between plants of the same species. This is the only way that pollination can be successful, and the plant species can then continue to live and be successful.

The pollination process, when completed by animals and bees, is accidental. It is an essential process for the flower, but it is done when the animal or bee has pollen attach to its body or releases the pollen into the air. Either way, without the intervention of an animal or bee, the flowers cannot germinate, or create seeds. The species of flower would then cease to exist. It is important to note here that some plants can self-pollinate, meaning they can transfer the pollen on their own. However, it is far more common for plants to need cross-pollinating, which means the pollen from one flower is needed by another flower of the same species in order to germinate.

Trip to Spain:

On a recent trip away I decided to match my holiday interests with some bee related pursuits. While my family were happily sunbathing on the beach, I took the chance to drive off and explore the area by arranging a deal previously.

Beekeepers and What They Do

The process known as apiculture consists of maintaining bee hives, ensuring the health of a colony or multiple colonies of bees and collecting honey, beeswax, pollen and royal jelly from bees is known as beekeeping. Apiculture, or beekeeping, is a science that has been practiced for centuries by apiarists, more commonly known as beekeepers.

Beekeepers use hives and smoke to keep bees happy and healthy and continually allow for easier access to the products bees create, including honey and beeswax. These individuals study bees, learning about the insects and becoming familiar enough to handle situations where bees attempt to construct a new hive in a location where it could be dangerous for humans or animals. In these cases, the beekeepers will go in and relocate the bees to an area where they can create a new hive and live comfortably without endangering themselves or being a danger or nuisance, to humans in particular.

Harvesting honey from bees is chronicled as early as 15,000 years ago. Meanwhile, 9,000 years ago in Africa, people began keeping bees in specific vessels. Domesticating bees, or creating hives and guiding the bees to stay in the man-made hives and colonies, began roughly 4,500 years ago. Therefore, the study and successful care of bees is a long-term career that has become a dedicated way of life for apiarists everywhere.

The Decline of Bee Populations in the US

A process called colony collapse disorder has been impacting the bees that live in the United States. This disorder is a drastic increase in a process that has occurred over the years to various bee colonies. Named CCD in 2006, the disorder has resulted in the loss of 10 million beehives since that year. This is twice the normal rate of loss.

The process of CCD involves the disappearance of the vast majority of worker bees in the hive. When CCD occurs, the queen is left, along with a few worker bees to take care of the immature bees. There is plenty of food in the hive and no reason that can be pinpointed for the disappearance. CCD has impacted the United States and Ireland the worst. However, other countries like Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and Germany have reported an increase in the phenomena of lost worker bees.

Recently, scientists have discovered that the Phorid Fly has begun to target the honey bee as a host. This, in turn, makes the bees behave erratically and leave the nest to die. This behaviour has been compared to zombies. Since the discovery of the cause of death for a large number of bees, research has become focused on how the fly infects the bee, in hopes of addressing the issue and minimizing the impact of the issue on the bees.

Meanwhile, the issue has recently been found in North Carolina, where it had previously not been reported.