The Buzz on Why Honey Bees Are So Important
Much of the delicious food we enjoy grows because of bees and other pollinators
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“I think part of why everyone is so fascinated by them is the relationship we have with honey bees is very long. It's almost in our DNA. There are lots of different types of bees that are very important, but honey bees because of their social aspect—there's a lot of fascination around them.”
So, what is this social aspect of honeybees? They form colonies, they have a queen, lots of female workers and a smaller percentage of drones (the guys who mate with the queen).
“Bees have personalities, too. Some are docile, some are aggressive,” Power explained.
This sounds like quite the bee soap opera. Maybe nature can call it, The Bold and the Bee-utiful?
Honey Bees in Winter
Honey bees live throughout the four seasons. The bees at the hive in Battery Park City in Rockefeller Park are rather docile. Very chill, Power explained. They stay in their hive in the winter, and they're able to maintain a constant temperature. Pretty cool.
And getting back–once again–to food talk, the Battery Park bees’ honey was just harvested, Power said, adding that it’s very nice of them to share this delicious substance with humans.
What You Can Do To Help Bees
According to scientists, climate change impacts the bee population worldwide as unprecedented floods, high temperatures, and forest fires increase globally. But Dr. Asli Samanci, a food scientist, bee expert and founder of Bee&You there are ways to fight these challenges.
"Our lifestyle and approaches to saving energy and water sources would contribute to the efforts to control the adverse effects of climate change on Earth and, consequently, the bee population," Samanci said. "However, there are still simple actions that we can take to save the bee population. For instance, we can plant bee-friendly flowers in our garden."
All of these actions can help. As Samanci said, "If there is a bee, there is life."
Power agrees that there are many things homeowners can do to help this important animal. What bees, pollinators and all living things need is habitat—a home. For bees, this includes having places to eat and suitable plants to pollinate. Power suggested even talking to neighbors about how to save bees.
“Maybe take a pledge with your neighbors to avoid chemical pest management,” Power said. Pesticides can cause all kinds of problems. They can disorient bees and stress them.”
You can also help bees by providing a continuous source of nectar and pollen by planting things that are in bloom from early spring to fall. Another tip is to ask your nursery or garden center if the plants you're purchasing are grown without chemicals.
"We can maintain our yard without chemical pesticides and prefer biological solutions for our flowers and trees," Samanci added.
Bee Species in NYC
Now that we know the importance of honey bees, here are some other bees you may not know are native to NYC, specifically in Battery Park City:
Long horned bees
Leaf cutter bees
Cuckoo leaf cutter bees
Want to learn more about bees and other pollinators? You can catch the buzz at pollinatornativeplants.com.
Main image: Battery Park City Authority