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5 Facts About Honeybees You May Not Have Known

Bees are misunderstood. Some people think they are annoying and stinging pests, while others believe that they are crucial to the environment.

In this blog post, we will share some key facts about honeybees as well as some common misconceptions. We will explore their importance to the ecosystem and dispel the myths that have been spread about them.

Bees Are Not the Sole Pollinators

Though bees are undoubtedly important pollinators, they are not the only ones. Butterflies, birds, bats, and even some types of reptiles and rodents can all help to spread pollen and fertilize plants.

However, bees comprise a significant percentage of the pollinating population. It’s estimated that they do around 80 percent, in fact. They are also the most efficient pollinators when compared to other animals.

But birds often pollinate flowers that are too high for bees to reach, and bats play a vital role in pollinating cacti and agave plants in desert ecosystems. Without the help of these diverse groups of animals, many plants would struggle to reproduce and thrive.

Not All Honeybees Are Pollinators

Since ancient times, humans have known about the important role that bees play in pollinating plants. In fact, many crops would not exist without the help of these hardworking insects. But the reality is that most species of bees are not pollinators.

In fact, there are 20,000 species of bees in the world, and only 20 percent of them (4,000) contribute to the process. That said, bees pollinate approximately 75 percent of all flowering plants and 85 percent of the world’s crop species.

Honeybees Do Not Sting Unless Threatened

Yes and no, but it’s a tad more complicated. Bees are able to determine whether to sting or not by using their sense of smell. They have specific receptors on their antennae that can detect certain chemicals that are found in beeswax and pollen. When a bee smells these chemicals, it knows that it is in a safe place.

However, if a bee smells something that it does not recognize, it may become agitated and sting. Additionally, bees can detect movement. If a bee feels like it is being threatened, it may sting in order to protect itself. Thus, bees use their sense of smell and sight to determine whether to sting or not.

Neonicotinoids Are Serious Threats to Pollinators of All Stripes

Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that are applied to seeds before planting or sprayed on leaves. They are taken up by the plant and distributed throughout its tissues, making the plant poisonous to insects that eat it.

While neonicotinoids were developed as a more environmentally friendly alternative to older insecticides, they have now been identified as a serious threat to pollinators. Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees, and even small amounts can disrupt their ability to navigate, remember routes, and feed their young.

As a result, bee populations around the world are in decline. But neonicotinoids are harmful to other pollinators as well, such as butterflies and moths.

These creatures are essential for the health of ecosystems and the food supply, making the threat posed by neonicotinoids very concerning. Reducing their use could certainly make a difference in the decline of vital insect populations globally. 

All Bees Do Not Make Honey

While many people believe that all bees make honey, this is actually not the case. According to experts, less than 5 percent of bee species actually produce honey.

The honey bee, which is the most well-known type of bee, is one of the few species that produce honey. Other bees, such as bumblebees and carpenter bees, either make very little honey or do not make it at all. Instead, they feed on nectar and pollen. Of the three, carpenter bees have a more negative reputation. That’s because they’re known to damage wood, which can be a giant headache for homeowners.

If bees have arrived and you’re not sure how to handle them, don’t go solo. Protect your health and know of any allergies ahead of time, first and foremost. A single bee sting is painful. Multiple stings can endanger one’s life. Instead, contact Little Giant Beekeepers.

We have many years of experience keeping the bee and human populations of the Dallas-Fort Worth area safe, and we’re trained in the safe and humane removal of bee hives from unwanted or potentially dangerous locations. Give us a call today!

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