The Buzz on Honey Bees


Charlie Monson

Aww look how fluffy this honey bee is! Perfect for caring pollen from plant to plant!

As summer is just around the corner our helpful little bee friends are becoming ever more prominent. This piece of writing is much different than what I normally write, but bees are so fascinating! I wanted to share some things I’ve learned about these little creatures before I go off and start having fun summer adventures. 

I was inspired to start learning about bees not only for a school project but also because of Nicole Tompkins who recently became a beekeeper herself. Which can be a huge undertaking at times, but she seems to be having a ton of fun. 

Honey Bees specifically are the type of bee that I will be focussing on in this article because beelieve it or not these little guys have been on the struggle bus lately. Remember earlier this month when Murder Hornets were spotted in the U.S for the first time? Yeah, those guys are extremely detrimental to honey bees. The murder hornets invade the hives, decapitate the worker bees, eat all the larvae and pupae, and leave behind only the weak bees; in just a few hours. 

Murder hornets, however, are not the only thing damaging our bee friends. 

Size guide comparing the murder hornet to all of its bee and hornet relatives. (photo via WLOS )

There are a variety of mites that can be harmful to bees; the varroa mite, for example, attaches itself to the honey bee like a parasite and over time weakens the bee. These mites destroy a hive from the inside out and are only found inside honey bee hives. Honey bees also struggle with a weak immune system, which makes the commercial transport of bees very dangerous, especially for such a delicate insect. Besides murder hornets, mites, and illnesses, the most detrimental thing to honey bees, like most insects, are pesticides. Farmers have gotten better at using bee-friendly pesticides but are never truly finding the safest ones.

Alright, enough about all the bad things happening to our bee friends, let’s talk about some good things, and ways we can help them.

Without the help of bees (and other pollinating insects) we would not have the diverse food choices we have with their help. Most of the food we eat is thanks to bees. Some foods like almonds or apples require the help of bees and other pollinators to reach maturity. Bees also pollinate 80% of the world’s plants. Honey bees are also super hard workers. They are not only taking care of their hives and their queens but our Earth too!

Since bees are going to be super busy this summer, why not lend a hand to help them out?

Like Nicole, you too can become an urban beekeeper. It’s going to take a lot of learning but can be a super fun experience. You can also look into local apiaries to learn or donate. Or maybe the simplest thing you can do is to plant your own organic garden; free of nasty pesticides and full of plants in need of pollination.

Just remember if you do happen to come across a bee anytime in the near future, there is no need to be scared (unless of course you are allergic). They are just going about their honey-making, pollinating bee lives.