More than honey - bees are so important! - NIKIN EU

More than honey - bees are that important!

Bees play a central role in our environment. Especially in the summer months, particularly large numbers of bee populations can be observed buzzing through our meadows, forests and gardens. These insects are essential, not only to natural ecosystems, but also to human nutrition.

Bees

In one of our earlier blogs we reported on the death of insects and highlighted its fatal consequences for people and nature. Bees are among the species that suffer particularly from human intervention in the environment and from climate change. However, without bees, people would be pretty much lost. That's why this blog is dedicated to the peacefully buzzing bees that we absolutely must protect.

Bees: wild, tamed and interesting

Bees are a genus of insects that belong to the so-called Hymenoptera. For us, bees are primarily honey bees. For thousands of years, humans have lived from the diligence of the bee colonies that were already kept in Pharaonic Egypt. But there is not only the honey bee called "apis mellifera". Around 30,000 different species of bees are known, and many of them do not collect honey and live solitary lives. However, their performance as pollinators is remarkable.

Honey bees are colony-forming insects - a "colony" of up to 70,000 bees gathers around the queen, who is also the "mother of the nation". After the nuptial flight, during which she supplies herself with enough seeds from the male bees, the drones, each queen bee founds her own colony. The larvae that hatch from the eggs laid by the queen become workers, drones - or new queens - through varying nutritional quality.

Small power planes

The tiny insects are only a few millimeters largebut can transport their own weight of pollen and map their surroundings through excellent visibility, but also by leaving scent marks. Once a flower has been harvested, it does not need to be flown to again. Bees are also incredibly efficient when it comes to communication. Through complex "dances", honey bees inform their fellow bees about where worthwhile "hunting grounds" can be found.

Bees

The amazing performance of bees can be illustrated in a few facts:

  • Global economic benefits of pollination services: approx. 270 billion US dollars
  • kilometers traveled for 1 liter of nectar or 500 g of honey: 120,000 km, three times the circumference of the earth
  • "Task force" for 55 g of honey: around 20,000 bees
  • Trips per bee per day: approximately 10x, with 0.05 g of nectar harvested per flight
  • Rest time: up to 8 hours daily

Why bees are not wasps

Among the thousands of bee species, there are relatively few that live in colonies. The majority of wild bees live alone, some of them group together only to raise the larvae, to overwinter or to ward off enemies. There are also big differences in nutrition. The honey bee and some other hive-forming bees build up food reserves, while many wild bees live from hand to mouth.

The selection of food plants also varies - some species are limited to a single plant species. Honey bees, on the other hand, fly to whatever is in bloom. Although they are true to the variety, meaning they first harvest the flowers of a plant before starting a new "project", they are not picky.

The colony-forming "true" bees include bumblebees, while wasps and hornets represent their own subfamily of hymenoptera. They are also community-forming insects that build complex nests - they prefer nectar when it comes to nutrition, but they don't stop at other insects or even meat.

Threat from parasites and loss of habitat

Beekeepers mean the loss of entire bee colonies when they talk about the death of bees - but conservationists refer more to the endangerment of the numerous wild bee species. The hard-working aviators are under many threats.

Infestation by the so-called Varroa mite is dangerous for them. However, it can spread primarily in the hives of "industrial" beekeepers. The highly bred "farm bees" cannot offer them much resistance. Old bee species are proving to be much more resistant to the mite and are therefore increasingly being rediscovered.

More difficult for the insects is the loss of habitat. They need flowering meadows and untouched natural landscapes in which seasonal flowering plants thrive to survive, but nesting places are also becoming scarce. Old walls or fallen tree trunks, and often holes in the ground, are particularly popular with solitary wild bees. A diverse landscape with "retreat spaces" is what bees need. Prepared lawns or gravelled front gardens take away their habitat.

In addition, there is the use of pesticides and herbicides, which kills entire bee colonies, unfortunately not only in large-scale agriculture, but also in private gardens. Quite a few beekeepers notice every summer when the crowd of holiday home owners in the surrounding area go gardening. Then things go badly for the bee colonies.

Bees

Simple contributions to bee protection

If you avoid chemicals on your balcony and garden, you are helping the bees a lot. It's even better to give them a corner in the garden - an overgrown spot where no mowing is done and where wildflowers can thrive. Stacks of wood or even a "bee hotel" with drilled holes are also popular as nesting places.

Early flowering plants are particularly important for the nutrition of wild bees and bumblebees. The insects fly out in the last days of winter and start looking for food.

By protecting the bees, we ensure our survival

Bee protection protects people. Because the small pollinators are one hundred percent responsible for the prosperity of important crops. What not everyone knows: pollination by bees also improves the yield of plants and the quality of the fruit. In comparison with mechanical pollination, clear differences were visible. The close symbiosis between plants and bees still holds many secrets.

At the same time, bees, with their wealth of species and diversity of life forms, are of course a wonderful example of the fascinating world of insects. Despite their ability to defend themselves, they are rarely really aggressive and enrich your own garden as well as large biotopes.

We at NIKIN are primarily concerned with sustainable materials in the fashion industry and want to fight against global deforestation. But it is important to us to motivate people to rethink their lifestyle in other areas and possibly make it more sustainable.

More Than Honey

The impressive movie "More Than Honey" shows how important bees are for biodiversity and our environment.

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