Thursday, November 8, 2012

Benefits of buzzing bees

Honey and honeycomb reminds us about honeybees (Apis mellifera) which belong to the class Apis. Honeybee is the great nurturer of living beings. Honey is considered as a most beneficial and heeling substance and honeybees are indeed sacred animals. Bees feed on pollen and nectar. In the digestive track of the bee nectar is converted to honey. 
Honeybees symbolize harmony and coherence with nature. Honeybees are social insects. In the wild, they create nests called hives. Each bee belongs to one of the three specialized groups; Queens, drones and workers. Each hive has a single queen for the purpose of production of new generation of bees. Queen is distinguished by longer abdomen and curved stinger without barbs. Drones are the males without stinger. Their role is to mate with a new queen. Worker bees are the sterile females and they are the majority in the hive. Their activity ranges from comb construction, taking care of the queen and drones, cleaning, defending the hive to collection of nectar, pollen, water and certain sticky plant resins essential for hive construction. Workers have a structure called a pollen basket (or corbiculum), abdominal glands to produce beeswax, brood-feeding glands, and barbs on the sting.
Honeybee is the icon of hard work, unity, collaboration. The attractive feature of the bee hive is the honeycomb, consists of flat vertical panels of six-sided cells made of bees wax. “Waggle dance," by honeybees is a figure eight dance of providing directions to a pollen source and it is the very special symbolic language existing outside of humans and lower primates.
Bee pollination is needed for the production of about one-third of our food crops. Honeybees pollinate almonds, blueberries, apples, cherries, melons, grapefruit, avocados, squash, and many more. So bee pollination essentially adds color and taste to our plate and vitamins and antioxidants to our diet. Our well-being rests on these tiny striped creatures.
The effects of taking the nature for granted by human has resulted in disasters and Colony collapse disorder(CCD) is one among  them. It was first noticed in late 2006 in North America. It is characterized by absence of the bees in the colony. CCD affects domestic honeybees that causes them to leave the hive and not return, leading ultimately to death of the colony. Though extensive research is going on, scientists still haven’t been able to pinpoint one single factor that is causing CCD. Instead, a combination of factors seems to be responsible for CCD. Varroa mites, Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), transgenics, systemic pesticides, nosema infections, environmental toxins etc are being considered responsible, but ultimately the greedy human interfering with the delicate framework of ecosystem is the real culprit.
Einstein said once “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live” alarms that if we don’t protect honeybees then we are not protecting ourselves. Bees crisis is our crisis.
Here is the trailer of a movie focusing on the mysterious disappearance of the honeybees. More than Honey - Markus Imhoof (Official Trailer) on Vimeo

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