"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.
No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more man."
~ Maurice Maeterlinck (often misattributed to Albert Einstein)
A honeybee in the middle of artichoke pollen frenzy with second bee diving in underneath.
Did you know that bees pollinate over one-third of the food crops we eat?
Almonds, blueberries, apples, cherries, cranberries, melon, sunflowers,
alfalfa, broccoli, cucumbers, onions, oranges, avocados, pumpkins,
~ and many more flowering food crops ~
are pollinated by bees.
This all black bee was dive-bombed by other, pale-headed, black bees buzzing around the lavenders. He was bigger and clumsier, didn’t fly as smoothly as the others. They left him alone, though, once he landed on this English lavender.
Almonds are 100% dependent on bees, blueberries, cherries and apples, 90% dependent on bees.
For most crops, yields would be severely reduced without bees.
It takes around 30,000 bees to pollinate an acre of fruit trees. Pollination success is increased if there are more present at peak flowering time.
Almonds flower in very early spring, when many bees are sluggish from the cold, making their 100% dependency on bees even more precarious in weather extremes.
These honeybees go mad for zucchini blossoms. This is a female blossom, male blossoms having only one stamen. The bees tend to stop by the male blossoms for just a minute, but then they really wallow around for awhile in the female blossom. I’ve seen bees waiting at the flower’s edge for their turn in there. The small, striped beetle-type bug looks like he is waiting for a turn, as well.
The honeybees seem to prefer the Spanish lavender to the English varieties, at least in my garden.
About one second after this shot, the bee dove right into this Armenian cucumber blossom, only its back end visible.
I couldn't help but be reminded of Winnie the Pooh, diving in the honey pot.
This was one of the aggressors to the all-black bee at photo above. These bees are fast, and aggressive, compared to honeybees.
A male pumpkin blossom with bee and beetle getting their pollen on.
Successfully pollinated pumpkin, day two.
Since 2006, there have been massive die-offs of bee colonies, all across the U.S. and Europe.
Globally, pollinators are declining in abundance and diversity, as we grow more and more food on less and less land to meet the world population's food demands.
The causes of the mysterious condition plaguing honeybees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, are suspected to include:
mites and parasites,
weakened immune systems,
lack of plant diversity causing bee malnutrition,
effects of long-distance transport on colonies,
and pervasive pesticide use.
Syngenta says it is only pesticide misuse that causes problems, while an Environmental Microbiology article on the National Institutes of Health website discusses extensively the pesticide/parasite interactions that significantly weaken honeybees.
Sunflowers attract bees, as well. The sunflower seeds grow right in the middle . You can see the black shells in the center, they are partway to harvest while bees continue to pollinate the outer circle.
Bees fly the equivalent of more than twice around the world to gather a pound of honey. One worker bee gathers in her entire, six week life, about one-tenth of a teaspoon of honey. It takes around 10,000 bees to gather that one pound.
The health benefits of honey, a known anti-microbial, abound.
In one study, honey proved superior to both a commercial cough suppressant and anti-histamine in reducing nighttime cough and improving children's sleep.
An artichoke bloom. Crazy looking, isn’t it? — the bees love artichoke and other thistle family blossoms.
Fat bee squeezing into an opening California poppy flower . These poppies are native to this area, they popped up as wildflowers in my garden.
You can help the bees. and the human race.
Encourage garden sex.
Plant natural pollinators: native plants for your area. Wildflowers. These plants are naturally more robust and they provide the best source of pollen for bees and other insect pollinators.
Buy local food and honey when possible.
Grow your own garden - the benefits are boundless for you and the bees.
Reduce or eliminate pesticide use.
Use natural fertilizers rather than chemically-based ones.
The jury on GMO seed safety (officially) is either out or paid by the chemical companies who sell them - there is no definitive answer on whether GMO seeds are safe. It is clear the companies that sell GMO seed do not have small farmer-friendly policies. Quite the opposite, in fact. I, personally, avoid any GMO product I can.
If you garden, consider, at least, an organic garden. Pesticides like Roundup are known to be toxic.
Consider choosing organic food when and if you can.
With the loss of bees is the loss of our food supply, loss of diversity in plants, loss of human life.
~ all photos taken in my front yard garden ~
To check this post out with larger, and more photos, check it out at Medium.