The Buzz

Planting a pollinator garden is one simple way to help improve conditions for bees and pollinators. To get the most out of your pollinator garden with the least effort, include perennial plants. Unlike annuals that need to be planted each year, perennials are a mainstay in your garden landscape. 

Would you travel 55,000 miles to sweeten your tea, your oatmeal, your morning toast? No? Well, thankfully you don’t have to. Honeybees have done the traveling and the labor for you.

That’s right—a single beehive contains approximately 60,000 bees who travel close to 55,000 miles and visit over 2 million flowers just to make one pound of honey for you! 

But what about honeycomb? When you think of honeycomb, perhaps a fancy charcuterie board springs to mind: a luxurious piece of golden honeycomb surrounded by exotic cheeses, nuts, fruits, and artisan breads (with a hefty price tag to match). Is honeycomb worth the price, you may ask?

Let’s look at raw honeycomb price and explain why it’s more expensive than liquid honey.

Pollination is an amazing and integral part of the entire biosphere, even though most people tend to associate pollen with allergies, sniffling, and sneezing. Pollen only becomes an adversary when there’s a surplus that, combined with air flow, ends up overwhelming those with pollen allergies. The rest of its existence consists of helping plants to bear fruit, flowers, nuts, and even ensuring the next generations of their species.

Pollen contains a plant’s DNA; in order to reproduce and create edible components, this pollen needs to be spread quickly and efficiently. Plants and flowers, while incorporating some stunning evolutions over decades, have failed to grow arms and hands of their own. That means they must rely on pollinators - certain kinds of insects and animals - to do the important work of gathering and spreading pollen.

If you’ve ever watched a bee traveling from flower to flower, you’ve watched one of these pollinators at work.  In the course of gathering nectar and pollen to create honey and keep their hives healthy and strong, bees spread pollen from flower to flower. This, in turn, helps trees and flowers bear fruit and nuts, and ensures the next generations of that plant can continue to grow.

While most people may recall the male reproductive part of a plant’s flower is called the stamen, did you know that the pollen-producing area is called the anther? It’s here that the pollen, which contains the fertilization properties that will later create plant life, are made. Most people are familiar with this substance, which is often spotted as a bright yellow dust-like residue on cars, windows, and nearby smooth surfaces. The anther will create an abundance of pollen in order to maximize the chances of producing offspring through plant reproduction.
Pollinator week is a seven-day long Senate-appointed celebration of pollination, held each June. This special time is set aside to honor the insects and animals responsible for the types of pollination that fertilize one out of every three bites of food eaten by Americans every day. Without these creatures, everything from food to flowers would fail to grow and thrive, leaving us in an agricultural, weed-choked wasteland.
Pollination ensures the survival of native plants, but it does so much more than that. While two flowering plants growing next to each other can cross-pollinate (with the help of a handy bee or another pollinator), sending genetic material beyond the immediate area supports biodiversity. A mix of both familiar and unfamiliar genetics gives plant offspring the best resistances against blight, defects, and other issues that could impact the health of its seeds. It allows a plant species with a minimal foothold in an area to grow and prosper, claiming more of its surrounding habitat. It helps reseed areas devastated by natural disasters, predators, or other damaging influences. Pollination is both a fast forward and a reset button, depending on the needs of the habitat surrounding it.

Many people may think of bees as nothing more than those little pesky, fuzzy insects buzzing around. Despite offering the delicious treat of honey and raw honeycomb, you’d be surprised at how vital they actually are to our ecosystem, food supply, and to our everyday lives! For instance, did you know that pollination is essential to maintaining almost all of the fruits and vegetables that we consume on a daily basis? It’s true! And of all the things that bees do, pollination is the most important.

We are dependent on bees for this very act that they perform with plants. And humans are not the only ones who depend on bees for pollination—plants do too! Out of all the pollinating insects and animals, bees are the champions when it comes to the best pollinator.