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Honeybees

Bees may be seem like a nuisance but without honeybees many of the foods that we enjoy wouldn’t reach the table. Honeybees pollinate many crops including apples, watermelons, tomatoes and broccoli. Blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent on honeybee pollination and almonds depend entirely on honeybee pollination. If pollination didn’t occur, plants would not be able to make seeds for new plants. As worker bees buzz from flower to flower to collect nectar, a sweet liquid produced by flowers, pollen sticks to their body and rubs off when they land on another flower. This is how pollination occurs. The bees store nectar, in their honey stomach, which is different from their regular stomach for eating, until they get back to the hive where the nectar is turned into honey for food.

Since 2006, there has been a widespread decline in honeybees and reports of honeybees disappearing in many countries around the world. This phenomenon has been named Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Scientists don’t know the exact cause of CCD, but factors thought to contribute to it include viruses, pesticides, stress and mites.

Honeybees are social insects, they live in family groups called colonies that are run by a queen. If the queen dies, a new queen is created by feeding one of the female workers a special food called “royal jelly”. The colony lives in a hive, which may be naturally occurring in rock crevices or hollowed trees for wild honeybees or a manmade structure for domesticated honeybees. Currently, there are over 200,000 beekeepers in the United States.



Did You Know?

  • All worker bees are female.
  • Honeybees dance to let other bees know the location of flowers.
  • Worker bees live about 6 weeks during the summer.
  • The average honeybee makes 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
  • California’s almond crop requires 1.4 million hives.


Check These Out!


The Honey Makers
Gibbons, Gail
Covers the physical structure of honeybees and how they live in colonies, as well as how they produce honey and are managed by beekeepers.
Honeybees
Milton, Joyce
Describes the anatomy, behavior, and life cycle of the honeybee, as well as the different kinds of honey that are produced on bee farms.
The Life Cycle of the Honeybee
Barbara Feldon reads the featured book The lifecycle of the honeybee by Paula Z. Hogan about how bees make honey. Host LeVar Burton visits a beekeeper and examines a beehive close up. Viewers will learn how honey is extracted from combs and how important the queen bee is to a well-organized hive. Featured book reviews are The reason for a flower by Ruth Heller, The lady and the spider by Faith McNulty, and Going buggy by Peter and Connie Roop.

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