Homo sapiens are blessed with supreme brain power and hence, we know how to make the best possible use of other natural elements. And this applies to honey bees as well. Humans make utmost use of honey bees for getting honey, the most delicious natural sweet known to man since prehistoric times. But actually, we ignore the fact that a pollination is the first and foremost important service rendered by honey bees.
Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa had famously said, “When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited.” He meant that when the Yogi gets self realization, people from all walks of life get attracted to him and become his Bhaktas. In the example he sighted, the master had indicated beautiful relationship between flowers and honey bees.
A honey bee is regarded as the best pollinator all over the world. So, here let us know about the bee pollination.
‘Origin of Life, Emergence of Honey Bee and Importance of Bee Pollination’
About 15 billion years ago the ‘Big Bang’ happened and the universe came into existence. It is said that our earth has originated about 4.6 billion years ago and then gradually the life on earth came into existence. Researchers say that the amazing insect called Honey bee exists on this earth even before the start of human evolution.
Honey bees belong to ‘Hymenoptera’ family of insects and ‘Apis’ genus. Bees are important to us in many ways. Mainly, we know the honey bees for the delicious honey which they produce from the nectar of the flowers. But apart from honey, we also get other useful products from honey bees which are bees wax, bee pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom. Wait…this is not all! In addition to all these products, we get the most useful service from the honey bees which is called ‘Bee Pollination’. It is not an exaggeration but a fact that 1/3rd of the food we eat has come from the pollination by bees.
Photo: Honey bees pollinating Water LilyPhoto Credit: Mr.Bhushan Shelke
Pollination through the agency of insects is called ‘Entomophily’ and these plants are called ‘Entomophilous’. Among these insect pollinators, honey bees are the most important pollinators as approximately 70 to 80% of total insect pollination is achieved with the help of bees.
Flowering plants (i.e.Angiosperms) have originated some 160 million years ago. And among these flowering plants, there are so many entomophilous which need honey bees for its pollination. In case of such pollination, the plants get the benefit as its reproduction process is boosted through bees and as a token of gratitude for this wonderful service, bees get sweet nectar and pollen from the flowers of these plants. And most importantly, we human beings get the benefit from this bee pollination in the form of good quality increased yield of fruits and crops.
‘Threat to bee population and possible measures’
If we look around and observe the nature carefully, we will hear a silent cry of all honey bees – We Are Starving Please Plant and Grow Flowering Plants!
Honey bees rely on flowers for their food. If there are less flowers, bees will not get enough food and they will surely die. Also, humans will not get food since there will not be any bee left for doing pollination.
These days we see massive decrease in bee population due to various reasons such as cutting of flowering trees on large scale, destroying the bee hives (bee nests) out of ignorance and fear by using fire or pest control, destroying the bee hives while extracting honey by using unscientific methods, building tall mobile phone towers, using harsh chemical fertilizers in agriculture and acute toxic chemical insecticides/ pesticides/ weedicides on crops, drastic climatic changes, etc. It is our moral duty and responsibility to save the bee population from this mass destruction. To protect and conserve the bees, we are required to plant bee-friendly flora wherever it is possible to plant and educate people on the importance of bees in nature. Especially, the farmers need this education as it is a huge benefit to farmers if they know the importance of these social insects in farming. If the farmers place bee boxes in their farms, they will not only get good quality increased yield through bee pollination but they will also get pure natural honey from the bees kept in the boxes. They can sell this honey and other bee products like bees wax, etc. in the market and in this way they will earn additional income. Thus, scientific beekeeping can prove to be a very effective income generating activity for farmers apart from agriculture and it will bring control on the cases of farmers’ suicide which has become a major social problem in these days.
We need to take into consideration the important role of honey bees in nature regarding pollination. So, Be a friend of Bee and Make Our Earth a Better Place to Live by Saving the Bees!
Written by Priya Phulambrikar
Member of Team Bee Basket
Founder of Green Birds Initiative