Friday, June 05, 2009 | Author: eventer79
Yeah! Friday Fun Fact!

Thirty percent of all food resources used by humans come from plants pollinated by bees.

The USDA estimates that the average person eats 4.7 lbs of food per day. That means 1.4 pounds of that is available to you thanks to the hard work of honeybees. 1.4 pounds is several sandwiches worth of food, so we are talking significant chunks here.

In my state, wild honeybees are completely extinct. All of our bees are residents of privately kept hives. Our wild bees have been wiped out by disease and predators. As you can imagine, this causes quite a ripple impact through the agricultural industry. There are already large groves and farms who must employ people to hand pollinate plants with dusters because there are not enough bees left to do the job. This has major economic impacts, not only to the producers of the food, but to us consumers who will have to absorb this extra cost of production which was once provided free by nature.

Of course, this doesn't include the other services they provide, including making honey (which is not only a natural preservative, but an excellent antibiotic and can fend off allergies) and beeswax, which is used human pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, furniture polish, art materials, and candles. Even bee venom is used to treat arthritis, neuralgia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and multiple sclerosis.

So next time you chow down on a piece of fruit or bread or vegetable, you should "bee" very grateful (I know, I know, I'm hilarious). If we lose these fascinating little insects, we will be not only hungry, but broke. Have a little extra room in your yard? Set up a hive and start a bee colony of your own (no, they will not chase or attack you, they don't want to sting you any more than you want to be stung). Even providing flowering plants where bees can forage will help these critters survive increasing pressure from urbanization.

Spread some positive buzz about honeybees as you go about your next week. After all, if you are what you eat, a sweeter little animal surely cannot exist!
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On June 5, 2009 at 4:16 PM , lifeshighway said...

There are absolutely no wild bees. (sigh) Once again let down by the no-so-fun Friday Fun Fact. How difficult is it to start a suburban bee hive?

On June 5, 2009 at 4:53 PM , eventer79 said...

Sorry, it was supposed to be a "hey bees are amazing and important!" fact. Several of the guys in the agency have bees, I think it's not hard. I contemplate it, although I have no money.

On June 15, 2009 at 8:35 AM , Belgian-Mom said...

I was surprised to find out that there are actually bee keepers who "rent" their bees out to farmers all across the country. They actually ship them in tractor trailers and set up the hives and let them do their stuff.

On June 15, 2009 at 5:30 PM , eventer79 said...

Yes, they are specifically set up to serve ag community, since there aren't enough wild bees left!