Bees are insects that can fly, and are closely related to other insects such as ants and wasps although while wasps too can fly, ants cannot fly. Bees are classified in kingdom Animalia, phylum Athropoda, class Insecta, order Hymenoptera, superfamily Apoidea, and clade Anthophila. Bees make up more than 20000 species in the suborder Apocrita, and are famous for their role in pollination. And because of this role, bees are known as pollinators although they are not the only pollinators. They are social insects that fly mostly en masse as a colony. Bees have ability to sting an intruder to their hive or colony. This habit, make many people to perceive them as a nuisance. Bees occur in all regions and climates across the world.
Feeding Habits of Bees
Most of the discussions in this article will be based on honey bees for two main reasons: honey bees are the only surviving members of the Apini tribe of the genus Apis; honey bees are widespread in many regions throughout the world. Honey bees produce and store honey, otherwise known as liquefied sugar. This is traditionally stored in a special structure known as bee-comb, solely produced by bee workers in a bee colony. Honey bees are mainly herbivores insects unlike ants and wasps that feed on other insects. Only in times of nutrient scarcity will bees approach and kill lava bees. To synthesize honey, worker bees visit a flowering plant from where they lap up nectar with the aid of a special organ called proboscis and store nectar temporarily in their bodies. When worker bees return to the bee hive or comb, they vomit nectar to the mouth of house bees. House bees finally process nectar to honey with the aid of enzymes in their bodies, the entire process being completed by dehydration. The synthesized honey is then stored in honey comb and capped with bee wax. Honey bees obtain carbohydrate and fibers from honey while they derive protein from pollens from flowers. Every member of the bee colony feeds on honey.
A collection of live bees is known as colony. In a typical bee colony, roles are delegated to members. And just like humans, the bee colony is highly organized so that no one member is idle.
Species of Bees around the World and their Uses
There are several species of bees around the world today. And they are found in all regions such as Europe, United States, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Honey bees are highly migratory bee species. They are readily noticeable between summer and late spring when new queen bees and other members of the colony move en masse, abandoning their old hives to find another location. Although all bee species can be aggressive when provoked, some bee species are docile such as the bees of Italy, and will not normally behave violently unless they are provoked. However, honey bee species such as those of Germany and Africa are readily very aggressive. Among the species of bees are honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, European bees, sweat bees, camiolan honeybees, colletidae and others.
Bees are useful in many respects. First, and perhaps most important, bees help in pollination. They unwittingly transfer pollens from one part of the flower to another and so carry on pollination. This role, by and large, contributes significantly to food production and agricultural productivity. Also, honey, which is the primary produce of honeybees, is food to members of bee colonies. Members mainly depend on it for survival but honey is not only useful for honeybee colonies. Humans too consume honey. Honey, otherwise known as liquefied sugar has many medicinal and curative usefulness. Many people enjoy eating honey for pleasure. In many places all over the world, people also use honey locally to treat specific health challenges.
How to Keep Bees Away
Avoid attracting bees to your body. Some people, by way of what they wear, normally attract bees to their bodies or dwellings. Bees are naturally attracted to bright colors and pleasant scents such as body perfumes and ineffective insect repellants. It is therefore important to avoid wearing floral patterns and pungent-smelling substances in order to deter bees from dwelling places and picnicking locations. Instead of bright-color clothes, it is better to choose colors that will not readily attract bees.
Do not make your food attractive to bees. Foods are better served indoor rather than outdoor in order for the bees not to detect the flavors from open foods and buzz in to investigate. It is also important to keep foods such as barbeque, salmon, and fried chicken sealed to deter bees. Also, garbage and other unwanted smelling materials should be thrown away immediately or destroyed altogether so as to keep bees away.
Use natural materials to deter bees. This method too is effective in keeping bees away. One way to go about it is to use natural herbs such as garlic, cinnamon, peppermint, and vanilla. Also, potted marigold plants may be used to keep bees away from around the house or in a large outdoor gathering. Cucumber peels also work in keeping bees away from around the house. Cucumber peels contain an acid that is repellant to bees. Even cucumber plants may be grown around the house. Bees will not come close at all!
Choose bee-proof locations for your picnic. Activities such as picnicking, playing, and discussions should be organized in areas that are deterrent to bees. For example, a location that is free from used cans, dumpsters, and tall grasses should be avoided as often as possible. Similarly, choose areas where brightly-colored flowers are absent.
Get rid of potential or actual nesting areas in your house. Nests are breeding locations of bees. To keep bees away, take a walk around your house to find potential nesting sites such as holes, cracks, and chips. Once you find one, use metal screening to block it off or you may caulk it. In case you have found an actual nesting site around your house, do not panic; just contact a beekeeper for assistance.
Bees are small but important creatures. Their role in the natural ecosystem cannot be underestimated. Even though they can inflict painful bites when provoked, there are obvious reasons to preserve and not destroy them.