The Emmy Award winning show produced through the generosity of the Jackson
Foundation, Tennessee State Parks, and the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

Embattled Bees

It’s time for a quick pop test. Which animal accounts for roughly thirty percent of the food we eat?

If you said cow…or chicken…or fish…you would be wrong. The answer you’re looking for is the honeybee. Every year bees pollinate hundreds of crops, everything from almonds and apples to strawberries and soybeans. But since the early 1990’s, honeybee numbers have been dwindling, due in part to a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. It’s a general term that covers a variety of problems. Wild Side Guide Alan Griggs takes us to Spring Hill, Tennessee where a beekeeper is trying his best to protect his hives while combating a growing number of threats.

If you are a current beekeeper or if you wish to start a honeybee colony, remember that you must register with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. It’s free and you can do it online. If you ever decide to move your bees, sell them or if you have a disease problem, you must have the colonies inspected by the state. To receive apiary applications or a pollination list by mail, or for more in-depth information, call State Apiarist Mike Studer at 615-837-5342.

Africanized honey bees differ from European honey bees in behavior not appearance. Neither type of honey bee will indiscriminately attack humans or animals. The Hollywood image of “killer bees” is a dramatic exaggeration devised to sell movie tickets. Click here to learn more about Africanized honey bees in Tennessee.

From show 2706

Here are some interesting honey bee facts:

Honey bees have 6 legs, 2 compound eyes made up of thousands of tiny lenses (one on each side of the head), 3 simple eyes on the top of the head, 2 pairs of wings, a nectar pouch, and a stomach.

The honey bee’s wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.

A normal colony of honey bees contains only one Queen who may lay 2,000 eggs per day during her busy season

It requires 10,000 worker bees to gather a pound of honey.

The average life of a honey bee during the working season is about six weeks.

The value of bees pollinating fruits, vegetables and legumes is 10 times the value of honey produced. Natural pollinators are disappearing rapidly and each year we become more dependent on honey bees for many of our daily foods.

Honey is one of the safest food – most harmful bacteria cannot live in honey for any length of time.

Honey bees communicate by doing a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen is located. The dance explains direction and distance.

 

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