Image © 2005 Neil Fuller

Passion flowers Passiflora – Bee pollinators

There are of course many crops that don’t need bees to pollinate them. e.g. those that self-fertilise and those that may also be wind fertilised, such as lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peppers, peas, corn, wheat, rice, rye, walnuts, broccoli etc. Some like bananas are parthenocarpic and don’t need pollination at all. Now of the many food crops pollinated by bees, including the important commercial crop Passiflora edulis, many are also visited by other pollinators such as bats, butterflies, hummingbirdsmoths and wasps. Nevertheless these lovely little creatures work hard both for themselves and on our behalf. Our food plates would be much duller without their efforts. Not mention the joys of honey, apparently we consume 285 million lbs a year, beeswax candles and even beauty products like Burt’s beesBurts Bees

Fun Facts About Honeybees

  • Bees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants including 90 different food crops.
  • 1 out of every 3 or 4 bites of food you eat is thanks to bees.
  • The honey bee is responsible for $15 billion in U.S. agricultural crops each year.
  • Honey is the only food that does not spoil (bacteria can’t grow in it, and because of it’s low moisture content and low pH – honey can last indefinitely).
  • Bees maintain a temperature of 92-93 degrees fahrenheit in their central brood nest regardless of whether the outside temperature is 110 or -40 degrees.
  • The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
  • Man’s first alcoholic beverage, mead, is a wine made with honey.

Do the Honeybee Math

  • Bees fly a few tenths of a mile up to 6 miles to gather nectar.
  • Bees leave the hive 15 times per day and visit around 100 flowers each time – that’s 1,500 flowers a day!
  • Bees can collect up to 4-5 pounds of nectar each day.
  • 4 pounds of nectar = 1 pound of honey
  • 8 pounds of nectar = 1 pound of beeswax
  • 1 lb of honey = visiting two million flowers and flying 55,000 miles.
  • The average worker bee produces about 1/12th tsp of honey in her lifetime.
  • The 6 sided hex shape of honeycomb is the strongest shape per material weight.
  • Bees can not see the color red (it looks green to them), but they can detect ultraviolet reflectance.
  • Americans consume about 1.31 pounds of honey per person annually.

The above information from the HoneyLove Urban Beekeepers site. Please support them. Read more


Lovely bee infographic by Eunsan Huh

 

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