Busy as a Bee
Honey bees represent one of the matriarchies of the insect kingdom. Colonies consist of one queen, lots and lots of female worker bees and a few male drones. Ninety-five percent of the worker bees are female.
A healthy hive is occupied by a collection of overlapping generations. Tasks are divvied up according to age and colony needs via a very intricate system of communication:
Younger worker bees (nurse bees) tend/FEED the queen and the larvae (baby bees).
Older worker bees forage for food and water for the colony, convert nectar into honey, construct wax cells and clean the cells, and guard the hive from invaders. Worker bees develop stingers to defend the eggs lain by the queen.
Drones have only one KNOWN purpose—to mate with the queen. In fact, the queen will leave her hive only in the very beginning of her lifetime, in order to mate with many drones and store up enough sperm to last the rest of her life.
Pollination is dependent on insects and the wind, and bees play an essential role. As they buzz around in flight, their hair develops static electricity. When a bee lands on a flower, this static charge attracts pollen to the bee like a magnet. Honey bees from one hive can visit more than 100,000 flowers in a single day—those bees really ARE busy!
Why are We Losing Our Bees?
Scientists have investigated a number of factors to help explain CCD and have offered a variety of explanations. The primary theory seems to be that Colony Collapse Disorder is caused by a variety of imbalances in the environment, secondary to current agricultural and industrial practices.
Bees are sensitive to the constant flood of man-made chemicals into their system, especially pesticides, many of which accumulate over time. Honey bee colonies are further stressed by the “factory farming” style of beekeeping employed by the commercial bee industry. They are being raised using unnatural practices, artificially inseminated, and fed cheap sugary nectar substitutes (High Fructose Corn Syrup) instead of their natural food.
It should be noted that the theory of cell phones causing the disappearance of bees has largely been dismissed. This theory reportedly originated from the misinterpretation of a German study, and then spread like wildfire. Public Forum Group Film Screening:
Vanishing of the Bees Broome Community College Communications Department