1. The next time a bee buzzes by your ear, you should…
a. Swat at it, aiming for the kill
b. Run away in panic
c. Stop and admire one of nature’s most vital creatures
Got your answer? The correct choice is (drum roll, please) C ! Although bees have a bad rep, there is a lot more to them than their stinger. Bees are nature’s chief pollinators, and since pollination is part of plant reproduction, bees are a necessary part of the life cycle of many many plants. Ready for the next question?
2. Which of these foods would stop existing without bees?
b. French Fries
And the answer is A, B, and C. Bees not only make honey, but they are the main pollinators of both potatoes and the tomatoes we use for pizza sauce, as well as all of these other plants. So bees and their pollination powers are vital, not only for flowers to bloom, but for pizzas to be made. Cool, huh? Well, sort of, because as you may have heard, for the past decade bees have been disappearing.
The phenomenon, called Colony Collapse Disorder, occurs when the worker bees of a hive vanish, deserting their queen and ending the productivity of the hive.
Deserted Hive – One of Thousands due to CCD
CCD has been recorded in thousands of empty beehives world wide. The scariest part? No one really knows what is causing it. Bee specialists have theorized everything from the changing climate to urban encroachment to the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. Most agree that the cause is likely a combination of all of these things.
Even though we are still learning about what causes CCD, we do know many simple actions people can take to help prevent it. These include planting pollinator friendly gardens of indigenous plants, reduction of pesticides, and removal of invasive species. Many home owners, farmers, and even college campuses like the University of Arkansas are committing to being “Bee Friendly” to help these little guys get back on their feet. The University of Arkansas has been a certified Bee Campus USA since 2016, a testament to our commitment to pollinator health.
I encourage you to check out the UofA’s Beekeeping site to learn more about what you can do, so the next time one of these natural super heroes buzzes past your ear, you can know you’re doing your part to keep them – and our earth – healthy and happy.
Want to learn more about bees and their role? Watch these TED talks
Click here to learn how you can help the bees
Click here to learn more about CCD
Click here to see what or campus is doing to befriend pollinators