WGO Save The Honeybees

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 11:05 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - There is a saying among beekeepers: “With a bee, you can use everything but the buzz.”

Bee pollination is responsible for more than $15 billion in worldwide produce each year with one in every 3 mouthfuls of food being directly or indirectly related to honeybee pollination.

One third of our food is dependent on the pollination of fruits, nuts and vegetables by bees and other insects. Extensive losses of honeybee colonies in recent years are a major cause for concern. Honeybees face threats from disease, climate change, and management practices.

Loss of honeybee colonies in recent years are a major cause for concern. Honeybees face threats from climate change and management practices, but one of their biggest stressors is disease. Specifically, a mite called varroa.

Honeybees live in close quarters called colonies where viruses can quickly spread. One queen runs the whole hive. Worker honeybees are all females and are the only bees most people ever see flying around outside the hive. They forage for food, build the honeycombs, and protect the hive.

Male bees are called drones, the so-to-speak third class of honeybees. Several hundred drones live in each hive during the spring and summer, but they are expelled for the winter months when the hive goes into survival mode.

When you think of a honeybee you think of the honey they produce, but uf experts say that’s one of the least important things they produce. Honeybees also provide a valuable service by pollinating flowers as they forage, helping wildflowers reproduce and farms to yield better produce.

Amy Vu who is the UF/IFAS State Specialized Program Extension Agent in Apiculture tells us “But again bees are very important to our agriculture, and very important to the foods that we see in the grocery store.”

Many common crops require pollination in order to not only bear fruit but to improve its quality. So if you have beehives nearby, it’s likely you’ll have better fruit.

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