An Introduction to Bees
by Lisa Hawkins
There are 25,000 kinds of bees identified in the world. The most well know being the honeybee. In the United States there are a known 3,500 species. Most bees do not live in large groups, they are solitary bees. The honeybee is not a native of the United States. The first bees were brought to the U.S. from Holland. Later other bees were brought from many other countries. South America had some honey bees but they did not produce much honey.
When honeybees were brought to the United States, Native Americans called them “white mans flies”. Soon bees became a known site in the Americas.
In Brazil, honeybees did not survive well and scientist brought African Bees to Brazil. These bees were found to be very aggressive and mistakenly escaped into the wild. These bees are very common in Brazil now.
Beekeepers raise bees for honey, but more often they raise them to pollinate crops. Pollination occurs when the bee lands on a flower and some of the pollen gets stuck to the bees hairy legs. The next time the bee lands, some of the pollen falls off her legs and onto another flower, allowing it to reproduce.
Beekeepers have been raising bees for their honey for thousands of years. The first beekeepers kept their bees in hollow logs or clay pots. Now they keep the bees in wooden hives. When beekeepers raise bees for honey, they must remove part of the hive to retrieve the honey. They must “calm” the bees by using a special smoker. The smoke is puffed out around the bees and the bees move slower and are not as aggressive.
The next article will be about bee jobs!