Bee engaged – Build Back Better for Bees
Bees are a sign of well-functioning ecosystemsJosé Graziano da Silva
Bees are amongst the most hard-working creatures on the planet, have benefited people, plants, and the environment. They are out “Pollinator Heroes”. Every third spoonful of food you consume has Bee’s contribution, no not that you add honey in it. They cause pollination. Adequate pollination increases agricultural production, improves their quality, and enhances plants’ resistance to pests. With the change in the food production pattern, the number of crops dependent on pollinators (i.e., fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and oilseeds) has tripled in the last 50 years. Humans vow a lot to the Bees, as we do not pay for the pollination. With farm fields sizes becoming more extensive and the use of chemical-based fertilisers increasing, the population of pollinators is dwindling. Rampant urbanisation and the introduction of technologies (mobile towers) threaten the survival of Bees and other pollinators like butterflies.
To raise awareness about the importance of pollinators and enhance the way to aid their survival, and acknowledge their contribution to sustainable development, World Bee Day is being observed every year on 20 May from 2018. It is an UN-designated observation. The efforts of Slovenia led to the UN proclaimed the observance of World Bee Day. 20 May was chosen to recognise the contributions of Anton Janša, a pioneer of modern apiculture, and celebrate his birthday. Janša was born in 1734 and hailed from a family of beekeepers in Slovenia. Beekeeping is an important agricultural activity with a long-standing tradition in Slovenia.
Available information indicates that there are 20,000 different species of bees are known. Bees live in colonies, and it is a female-dominated world. The queen bee, the worker bee, and the drone are the types of Bees. The worker and the queen Bee are females, with only the Queen Bee is the reproducer. Worker Bee takes care of the offsprings. Drones are male. Worker bee’s tasks are to clean the hive, collect pollen and nectar to feed the colony, and takes care of the offspring. The drone only mates with the queen. The queen bee lives longer (3-4 years) than any other type of Bee.
In some cases, they live up to 20 times more than the worker bees. The drones live for an even shorter period. The reason being they get killed by the queen Bee right after mating. Bees have a colour that humans cannot see. It is a blend of yellow and ultraviolet. Scientists call it “bee’s purple.”
Every continent except Antarctica has Bees. The practice of Human beekeeping (or apiculture) is there for millennia. There is a mention of Bees in Vedas. Rigveda, Atharva Veda mention the bees and Ancient Egypt, and Ancient Greece mentions bees housing. Tell the Bees says English. The folklore says that there is a tradition in England of telling bees (Telling the Bees) about important events in the household.
Of course, the stings of bees are painful. Humans must endure this pain as they need balanced and good quality food to ensure progress and well-being, and Bees contribute significantly to them. Bees provide high-quality food. Honey is an essential hive product. Beeswax is famous for making candles, wood and leather polishes and an ingredient in artist’s materials. The pharmaceutical industry finds application as a drug carrier, time-release mechanism, and binding agent. Apitherapy is a branch of medical practice that uses honeybee products and is also being used to treat cancer.
Bees are under threat. The extinction rates as high as 100 to 1,000 times are being reported and impacted by humans. If this trend continues, nutritious crops, such as fruits, nuts, and many vegetable crops, will be substituted increasingly by staple crops like rice, corn, and potatoes, eventually resulting in an imbalanced diet -time to act and protect the Bees. Changing the farming practices, land-use, mono-cropping reducing the pesticides and the threats of climate change impact the survival of bees and, therefore, the quality of food humans consume.