FAMILY: Why I Care About Our Bees

2-slide-show-image-bee-goldenrod-with-pollenby Dylan M., 5th grader, Whittier International

For a research project I learned about the danger of losing our honeybees. I care about bees because I know our bees are dying and if they disappear we won’t have fresh fruits and vegetables that I love to eat.

Did You Know?

  • Some bees will fly up to 10 miles from her hive to forage for nectar.
  • A bee’s wings beat 180 times per second, and they fly an average of 15 mph.
  • Bees from the same hive will visit about 225,000 flowers per day.
  • Honeybees visit about 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey.
  • Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan together have more than 500 species of native bees.
  • About 1,000 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, spices and medicines need bee pollinators in order to produce these products we need.
  • One-third of the food we eat depends on bees having pollinated the plants. Such as: almonds, grapefruit, pumpkins, apples, carrots, lemons, onions, broccoli.
  • 6-slide-image-honey-in-combBoy bees visit 50 to 100 flowers to fill their honey sacs (which is like a special stomach). Once filled they return to the hive to give the nectar to worker bees (girls) to put them into wax cells (honeycomb).
  • Bees eat pollen and nectar to make honey. They need honey to survive in the winter. People get the leftover honey.
  • A honey’s color and flavor depends on the plants visited by the bees. Clover, buckwheat, orange blossom, alfalfa and basswood are a few of them. Try this: Get different honeys and see if you can taste the differences.
  • Bees like bright flowers with a nice smell. But don’t worry, generally bees don’t sting people who remain calm.
  • Rooftops from Minneapolis City Hall to downtown hotels now host beehives! Minneapolis was one of the first cities to allow beekeeping in an urban area. Do you know anyone who is a beekeeper?
  • Question: How do bees get from Minnesota to California without using their wings? Answer: They travel by truck. Farmers in the south and west need our bees to pollinate their flowering crops.
  • Beekeepers have noticed a problem. Hives have honeycombs, beeswax, and honey but the bees are starting to go missing. People have been trying to figure out if bees are dying in big unexpected numbers because of pesticides, viruses, loss of plants to feed on, or bee-killing pests.

This story talks about what we should plant to help our bees live.

Resources

Sources of information for this article

  • Minnesota Department of Agriculture (Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom)
  • Bee Lab, University of Minnesota
  • Environment 360
  • Minnesota Honey store (50th and Penn)

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