A Look at a Few of the 4,000 Species of Bees

Carpenter bees Image: en.wikipedia.org

Carpenter bees
Image: en.wikipedia.org

Honey Holding I, Ltd., knows bees. The company has invested half a million dollars into a partnership with Beckert Bees, in order to open up a new job market in the southeast Texas area. Honey Holding, one of the major suppliers of honey in the United States, hopes to use its expertise to provide new sources of locally produced honey for its customers.

The U.S. is home to some 4,000 species of bees. Many varieties of bees assist in food production by pollinating a wide variety of crops. Apples, peaches, plums, alfalfa, avocados, almonds, and other food plants are pollinated by bees.

Some of the more common varieties include the following species:

Bumblebees can sting more than one time because their stingers do not detach from their bodies when they attack. Although bumblebee stings can be excruciatingly painful, female bumblebees are the only ones that have stingers, and they are typically not very aggressive. Bumblebees are extremely social, forming large family groups.

Leaf-cutter and mason bees make their homes inside holes bored into trees by other insects. There, they hollow out chambers to use as nurseries. Mason bees use clay to seal entrances shut; leafcutters cut small circles from leaves to line their nests.

Carpenter bees are solitary bees that make holes for themselves and their young in wooden structures. Painting or varnishing exposed wooden structures can keep this species from burrowing into outdoor furnishings.

The Many Ways Bees Help Humans

Honey-Bees Image: honeysolutions.com

Honey-Bees
Image: honeysolutions.com

 

A leading supplier of high-quality honey to the American industrial baking and food production markets, Honey Holding I, Ltd., recently formed a partnership with Beckert Bees in Vidor, Texas, to reduce dependence on foreign-sourced honey and to create new jobs in an economically hard-hit area. Honey Holding and Beckert Bees hope to provide direct and indirect employment in the southeast Texas region, and to actively promote beekeeping as a profession.

In the late 1940s, the United States was home to 6 million bee colonies, a number that has declined over the years to about 2.5 million. Honeybees play a vital role in the American food supply: Almonds and other major crops rely on pollination by honeybees for their propagation. Cross-pollination is responsible for the healthy growth of about a third of the world’s cultivated crops, and almost all of the world’s wild plants.

Bees also help the economy: Every year, Honeybees produce about $150 million worth of honey and pollinate a total of about $15 billion worth of crops. Any loss in the bee population means less American economic strength abroad.

Bees also serve as important early indicators that something may be wrong in the environment. When bee populations decline, environmental scientists know to look for causes that could affect many other species, including humans.