Today I am thankful for the honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies and moths, some beetles and wasps, bats, birds, and hummingbirds. These are especially important because they are pollinators. And this week is National Pollinator Week. Did you know that bees carry an electrostatic charge which helps the grains of pollen stick to their body? Some bees have a structure called the corbicula which is similar to a basket to carry the pollen.
Honey bees are by far the most important commercial pollinating agents. Honey bees travel from flower to flower, collectingnectar (later converted tohoney), and pollen grains. The bee collects the pollen by rubbing against the anthers. The pollen collects on the hind legs, in a structure referred to as a “pollen basket”. As the bee flies from flower to flower, some of the pollen grains are transferred onto the stigma of other flowers.
Nectar provides the energy for bee nutrition; pollen provides the protein. When bees are rearing large quantities of offspring (beekeepers say hives are “building”), bees deliberately gather pollen to meet the nutritional needs of the brood. A honey bee that is deliberately gathering pollen is up to ten times more efficient as a pollinator than one that is primarily gathering nectar and only unintentionally transferring pollen.
Some of the plants and trees that bees pollinate are: strawberry, sunflowers, apples, vanilla, tomatoes, grape, beans, coffee, and cocoa (chocolate!!!). Who wants to give up these items??
Unfortunately you may certainly have to pay a higher price for all the items that are pollinated by pollinators because of what is known as “bee die-off”. An insecticide called neonicotinoids which is sprayed on the fields causes the bees to suffer a breakdown of their navigational abilities leading to paralysis and death. Eventually the bees contaminate the entire hive. You can read more abut this issue here: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2012/04/06/common-pesticide-implicated-bee-colony-collapse-disorder/
and here: http://greenanswers.com/news/281465/bayer-making-bees-go-extinct At the previous website you can sign a petition against the pesticides use.
I am an avid environmentalist and organic gardener and this issue is near and dear to my heart. Therefore I am VERY VERY thankful for the insect and other pollinators that create our food chain and I am looking forward to the day when usage of this poison is stopped.