A bee is an insect with a yellow-and-black striped body that makes a buzzing noise as it flies. Bees make honey and can sting. (Thank you, Collins online dictionary).
Yep, most dictionaries say the same thing, yet they say nothing. We know bees give us honey. Honey and life.
Pollination: We would not have flowers without bees, and we would not have bees without flowers. In fact, we would have a lot less food without those guys in yellow striped pajamas. Some vegetation would become extinct. Crops are dependent on our little buddies. Imagine a world without apples, pears, cucumbers, cherries and the list goes on. All those plants that grow because of the little wings to get these fuzzy insects from one plant to another, spreading the pollen that gives us blooms and fruit.
I love Burt’s Bees. My lips are softer and my health in general is better. Bee products. We all use them. My grandkids love honey by the spoonful. I still revert to honey in the comb. When I eat honey, I forget to thank the bees for the vitamins and minerals they provide in this spoonful of gold. And for centuries people have burned candles made from bees wax. Beauty products often contain honey. Crayons are sometimes made of bees’ wax. Even the venom of the bee is used to treat stings and to relieve arthritis pain. What’s not to like about bees?
Bees are an important component for our ecosystem, for farmers, for health, for our planet. Without bees, we would have few vegetables, no alfalfa, some trees would be extinct. I found a list of things that need pollination from bees and found it impressive and frightening all at the same time. Animals would be affected as well as people. Our way of eating would change drastically. In the end, we, too would be extinct. Yes, they are the important.
Seven types of bumblebees, who is also a pollinator, were just added to the endangered species list. A list already listing endangered honeybees. Yes, all bees are in trouble. Why? Because of pesticides and other chemicals used on farms, yard maintenance, gardens and also due to climate change. Mites kill off colonies of bees. Albert Einstein: “Mankind will not survive the disappearance of honeybees for more than five years.”
So what can we do? Stop the use of chemicals that are harmful to bees and other insects on fields, grass, gardens and trees. Plant flowers that encourage bees. Go to the library or check online to find out what plants will help. My son has a flowering sumac tree that hums with life from the hundreds of bees who visit its blooms. Do some research. Buy local honey to keep local beekeepers in business. Protect bee habitat. Bees are thirsty. They need flowering trees to give them sustenance. Place small stones in your birdbath, so the bees can sit on them and drink. Start your own hive. Research and be part of the solution. Educate your children and others about the bees and the need to protect them. Get those grandchildren involved. We know bees give us honey. Honey and life.
Yellow striped pajamas.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.