“As busy as a bee” is a saying that may be cliché but true to the letter. Bees are always buzzing- busy cross pollinating, building hives, maintaining a bee colony and producing honey. Bees are intriguing and here are some fascinating facts you may not have known about bees.
1. HONEY IS GOOD FOR THE BODY AND BRAINS
Honey is for body and brains! It is the only food that contains pinocembrin which is an antioxidant that improves brain function. Bees are the only insects in the world that make food that people can eat directly. Honey contains all of the substances needed to sustain life, including enzymes, water, minerals and vitamins. It would take 1,100 bees to make 1kg of honey and they would have to visit 4 million flowers to do so. One bee will only make 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire life. Honey has natural preservatives so that it won’t go bad.
“Unique among all God’s creatures, only the honeybee improves the environment and preys not on any other species.” – Royden Brown
2. NO BEES, NO LIFE
Many plants rely on insects like bees in order to be pollinated. Providing nectar is their way of saying “thank you” to the bees. Pollination ensures the continued existence of many plant species. Humans and animals in turn rely on many of these plants for food and medicine. So without bees most of the foods we eat will not exist because bees are the foundation of the food chain sustaining plant, animal and human life.
3. BEES HAVE MEDICINAL VALUE
Research indicates that a toxin in bee venom called melittin may prevent HIV and prove useful in anti-viral therapy. Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus’s protective envelope. However, the same mellitin in nanoparticles would just bounce off normal cells and leave them unharmed. Bee stings also act as pain killers by increasing the body’s level of glucocorticoid, an anti inflammatory hormone.
To reinforce their hives, bees use a resin from poplar and evergreen trees called propolis. It is basically beehive glue. Although bees use it as caulk, humans use it to fight off bacteria, viruses and fungi. Research shows that propolis taken from a beehive may relieve cold sores, canker sores, herpes, sore throat, cavities and even eczema. The list of their medicinal value is endless.
4. BEES HAVE THEIR OWN INTERNAL GPS
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based navigation system that provides location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth. Bees have their own version of GPS which is an internal navigation system (similar to a mental map) which helps them find their way. This helps them to be efficient at what they do, that is, flying from flower to flower. Bees also use the sun as a compass. But when it’s cloudy, there’s a backup: they navigate by polarized light, using special photoreceptors to find the sun’s place in the sky.
Although honey is often the first product to come in mind, bees also make or are indirectly involved in making many other goods. These include honey based products such as candy, beeswax, pollen (as a supplement), candles, propolis (or bee glue, used in cosmetics), as well as multiplying. Whereas crop pollination is by far the most important and profitable of bee services, honey is the most well known and most profitable of the direct products resulting from the efforts of honey bees. Many millions of pounds of honey are produced each year in the United States and bring in billions of dollars of revenue.
The honey bee itself, its highly organized society, how it acts with such intricate coordination and the various bee products are why this amazing creature is admired and respected. It is no wonder that the bee colony is sometimes called a superorganism. This quote by Albert Einstein says it all:
“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live…”
About the Author, King Mawuli
King Mawuli is a multifaceted citizen of the world, an Entrepreneur, a Media Content Producer, Media Consultant and producer, Influencer, Facilitator, Innovator, Writer and Artist with a vision to inspire a community of change-makers and provide a consistent way of highlighting the stories of people and trends positively impacting the world as a whole. Mawuli hopes to positively change the dialogue and tone of media story telling in the hope of aiding society better reflect on its’ past, mirror its’ present and project its’ future with stories that are objective, constructive, interactive, inspiring and intellectually stimulating.