Honeybees Essay, Research Paper

Honeybees as a Resource Honeybees are very useful to humans. As their

name suggests, they make the sweet, delicious treat known as honey that we

enjoy. They also make beeswax from which we make many useful items. But the most

important thing bees do for us is to pollinate the plants. The honeybee visits

flowers, which secrete a sweet liquid called nectar. This water-like nectar is

sipped from the blossoms by the bee and carried to the beehive. The raw nectar

goes into the cells in almost the same condition as it was when the bee sipped

it from the flowers. It is inside the hive that house bees evaporate the nectar

down to the thick consistency, which is what we know as commercial honey. We

usually think of the main use of honey as a spread on bread, pancakes or

biscuits. However, honey has a large use in cooking; such as pastries, canned

foods, milk drinks, desserts, frostings, syrups, and salad dressings. Honey

contains simple sugars and does not require digestion like regular sugar, so it

is useful for quick energy pick up and even for diabetic people. Most honey is

sold as extracted honey but it is also sold on the honeycomb which is the wax

chambers the bees make in the hive in which to store the honey. The wax comes

from a worker bee’s belly when she is fourteen to twenty-one days old. The wax

chambers are just big enough for a bee to crawl inside. Sometimes people like to

eat honeycomb. It can be eaten on toast or as is; then the wax becomes like a

chewing gum, but like chewing gum it should not be swallowed. In recent years a

new process called the Dyce process has made it possible to make a very nice

granulated honey called creamed honey, which is gaining in popularity. However,

granulated honey is not used much commercially because it is still an almost

unknown honey product. Beeswax is the second most important product produced by

the honeybees. Beeswax, the earliest of waxes, has been used in the form of

candles for lighting. This is today the second largest use of beeswax. The Roman

Catholic Church used to require that pure beeswax candles be used in church but

as the numbers of churches grew there wasn’t enough beeswax available so that

now the Catholic Church requires that candles are at least 51 percent beeswax.

The reason the church requires beeswax candles is because the candles do not

smoke. Probably the largest user of beeswax today is the cosmetic industry.

Beeswax is used as the emulsifying agent in face creams, lipsticks, lotions and

rouges. It is also used in shoe polish, sporting goods and military hardware.

The beekeeper himself is the third largest user of beeswax, which he gives to

the bees as the base of their new comb. There are 70 or more commercial uses of

beeswax today. Each year in the United States some 200 million pounds of honey

and four to six million pounds of beeswax are produced. Honeybees are not the

only insect that pollinates plants, but they are the best. A lot of our food,

such as corn, tomatoes, peas, squash, strawberries, apples, pears, and

watermelon would not continue without this pollination. During the last three

weeks of a worker bee’s life, they fly out of the hives as a forager. The bees

take pollen and nectar to the hive and deposit it into cells. During a foraging

trip each individual bee will collect pollen from just one kind of plant. By

doing this, each bee helps pollinate the blossoms. When the bee crawls around on

the blossom, the pollen (containing male plant reproductive cells) clings to

fine hairs located on the bee’s legs. The pollen is carried from one blossom to

another blossom of the same kind of plant, where it sticks to the female part of

the flower. Without pollination plants would not produce fruit or seeds. Without

seeds now new plants could grow. Pollen is carried in small pollen baskets on

the outer sides of the bees legs. In order to fill the baskets with pollen, the

bee uses her mouth parts and scrapes the pollen from the blossoms and hairs on

her leg to secure it in the basket. The pollen is also known as "bee

bread." This is because the bee eats the pollen. When bees find a good

supply of food they use "sign language." They return to the hive and

perform a dance to show other bees where to find food. There are two kinds of

dances. The round dance tells the other bees that food is about 100 yards away

or less. The wagging dance tells bees that food is at such an angle to the sun

and how far away the food lies. Tests have been made and even if the food is

miles away, this dance is still extremely accurate. For some people bee venom is

deadly, but for some people bee venom is good medicine. Some people who have

arthritis (a swelling and pain in joints) pick up a bee by her head and hold her

tail to the sore joint until the bee stings. The venom makes the joint swell up

and this flushes out the arthritis. So as you can see, honeybees give us honey,

wax, and comb. They also pollinate our flowers. Therefore they are a very

important resource.

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