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Getting to Know the Honey Bee - Essay Example

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Honey Bees, the first time we hear the word there is a tendency to cringe in fear. Any bee sting is quite painful and potentially life threatening. But then again, there are some who will stay in the same place and think about all the honey that can be harvested from a beehive to be used in various ways…
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Getting to Know the Honey Bee
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Getting to Know the Honey Bee Honey Bees, the first time we hear the word there is a tendency to cringe in fear. Any bee sting is quite painful and potentially life threatening. But then again, there are some who will stay in the same place and think about all the honey that can be harvested from a beehive to be used in various ways. Therefore, bees are viewed in two different ways in our society. First, as a carrier of allergies that could have life altering consequences if not dealt with immediately and second, as a part of our food chain. No matter how you put it though, Honey Bees are here to stay so it is up to man to understand everything that we can about these insects and how their existence can have a positive effect on our civilization. The first thing we have to understand about Honey Bees is where they come from, what their habitat is, how they reproduce, and other information that is relevant to understanding the life cycle and uses of honey bees. Honey bees are actually only one type of bees represented in a species of over 20 thousand. According to experts honey bees may have come from densely populated forests and tropical regions such as Central Africa before spreading across the globe due to the commercial practice of bee keeping. What we do know about the habitat of bees is that these creatures can adjust to their surroundings and can therefore be domesticated and used in a variety of ways. When it comes to their natural habitat however, it is important to note that (Johnson, Priva “Honey Bees Habitat”): ... these bees prefer living in woodlands, meadows, orchards, gardens and other areas furnished with an abundance of flower-bearing plants. In the natural environment, honey bees are observed to build nests inside tree cavities and edges of various objects so as to camouflage themselves from their predators. The hives that the bees create as their colony home is actually coated with honey in order to keep the temperature within conducive to their needs in terms of habitation and procreation. These bees, known scientifically as Apis Mellifera live in colonies composed of as much as 50,000 bees at a time. In the United States, the most common type of bee is the Italian Honey bee (Apis Mellifera Linguistica), known for their light or golden color and yellow or brown striped abdomens. These bees are kept in controlled environments by bee keepers. However domesticated we make these honey bees however, the colonies are encouraged to live just as they would in the wild in order to encourage the production of honey. These colonies, just as in human living situations, has a caste system that helps the bees keep their society active and in check. Each colony of bees, regardless of species, is known to have a queen bee around whom the lives of the other bees are dedicated. At her disposal, the queen bee has drones to bring her food and protect her while she actively spawns more bees, and worker bees whose job it is to keep producing honey (Hadley, Debbie “Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)”) Honey bees, just like any other living thing undergoes a life cycle. The eggs laid by the queen bee turn into larva that is cared for by the worker bees as it enters its pupa stage and attaches itself to the walls of the hive before hatching. The adult males are known as drones and the females become worker bees. It takes a total of 3-10 days for a bee to achieve full maturity so until then, all the female bees in the colony work to keep them fed and cared for (Hadley, Debbie “Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)”). Only the worker bees have stingers that are meant to protect the queen bee from any threats and threats to the colony. Known as an ovipositor, it is this venom filled, barbed stinger that the female bees leave in their bee sting victims. These worker bees are the important source of honey within the colony. The worker bees scour the habitat for nectar and pollen to return to their colony. These are stored in special baskets in their legs called corbicula while the hair on their bodies use static electricity to attract pollen grains. It is this combination that turns into nectar which the bees then process into honey (Hadley, Debbie “Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)”). Honey bees do more than just produce honey for human consumption though. Information coming out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that 80% or 1/3 of our food supply relies heavily on the pollination activity of the bees. Studies by Cornell University go so far as to point out that (Borland, Maria “The Importance of Honey Bees”): “... honeybees annually pollinate $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the U.S. Essentially, if honeybees disappear, they could take most of our insect pollinated plants with them, potentially reducing mankind to little more than a water diet.” In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that bees, honey bees in particular, are nothing to be feared. Rather, we should continue to work towards the propagation of the specie due to the ecological benefits that their continued existence creates. Our food supply depends upon their existence for more than just honey. The existence of bees helps bring a balance to our own existence because of their ability to attack other insects that pose a problem to our food supply. They are more than just providers of honey, these often feared insects have been proven by various scientific studies to be of the utmost importance to the existence of man and the balance within our own food chain. Works Cited Borland, Maria. “The Importance of Honey Bees”. Earth Matters: Home. Mother Nature Network. 3 May 2010. Web. 6 Feb. 2013. Hadley, Debbie. “Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)”. Bug Bios. About.com. 2013. Web. 5 Feb. 2013. Johnson, Priva. “Honey Bees Habitat” Buzzle. buzzle.com. 19 Sept. 2011. Web. 4 Feb. 2013. Read More
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