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Which Bees Are Endangered? Are They All Endangered?

which bees are endangered

Bees are a topic of continuous controversy. On one hand, their stings have earned the fear of most of mankind. Their stings are painful and for those that are allergic, can be deadly. They are, however, highly respected for their agricultural abilities and the part they play in our ecosystem. We all know by now that bees endangered, but which bees are endangered?

Bees are some of the best pollinators in the world. Researchers estimate that the value of their pollination is around $3 billion every year. That is a lot of free labor. Certain types of bees can specialize in pollination of certain types of plants, while others are more general pollinators. General pollinators such as honey bees, are a great asset to a lot of crops.

However, types of bees that are more specialized for a certain crop are usually faster, more effective, and better at it than the general pollinators. Tomatoes, for example, require a larger bee to pollinate them, like the bumblebee. If we were to lose our native bee populations, it could devastate agriculture around the globe. We might go hungry and so would our livestock. Regardless, every year more bees become endangered.

Why are Bees Endangered?

Bees can become endangered for several reasons. Some are natural; some are not. The primary natural cause is disease. Bees are just as susceptible to diseases and illness, like any other animal. Most commonly these diseases come from parasites such as varroa mites. If these little guys get into a bee colony or a hive of a single bee mother, it can be devastating. Most populations do not recover from it, and the disease spreads quickly. The only real way to kill off this parasite is using pesticides.

Pesticides, however, are the main manmade cause of bee endangerment. While pesticides might kill off the mites that infest the colony, they also kill off the bees. Therefore, the solution can get a little tricky. Recent research about certain pesticides known as neonicotinoids and the devastation on insects it can cause shows they affect the plant's entire system, including the nectar and pollen, and stays with the plant throughout its life. Bees consume both pollen and nectar for themselves and for their young.

Due to their general pollination, honey bees are in particular danger. With their diminishing population, conservationists started a worldwide movement to "save the bees." Since then there have been millions of honey bees farmed to help increase their population. In some areas, it is not always the bees that people are worried about so much, as their ability to aid humans in our agricultural endeavors, such as pollination. Apiarists introduced honey bees into areas all over Europe and globally.

However, this has adversely influenced many other native bee populations. The honey bees are taking over habitats that were once prime real estate for native ground and bumble bees. So along with being killed off by the harmful pesticides that also hurt the honey bee, they are now being left without homes to raise their young, and without food to sustain themselves.

Let us not blame the honey bee. It is doing what nature tells it to do: survive regardless of its environment. This proves to be a man-made fault. Human interference with the goal of replenishing the honey bee population has instead endangered other bee species.

which bees are endangered

Which Bees Are Endangered?

Which bees are endangered? Are all bees endangered? Not all varieties of bee are on the endangered list. Now widely cultivated, honey bees, for example, have many allies that stand up for their well being. However, many other bees are in trouble. So which bees are endangered? In 2016, the United Nations announced the findings of a worldwide study of bee populations. The results were clear; over 40 percent of all of our insect pollinators, bees included, were facing extinction. This is a huge amount.

Upon further research, specialists confirmed that about 47 species of native US and Canadian bumblebees were in danger. Four endangered varieties have had population declines of 96 percent in the last 20 years. Scientists believe three more varieties to be extinct already. And that is just bumble bees. There are over 25,000 known species of bees. When considering the overall bee population, the statistics remain grim.

It is difficult to estimate the number of species and population averages of bees in most areas. Over 70 percent of all known bees do not live in hives like most believe. These are solitary sting bees that live on their own in holes they burrow in the ground or in plant stem cavities. They move frequently and migrate to certain areas during certain times of the year. This makes them difficult to track and count.

Researchers suspect that roughly 50 percent of all Midwestern US native bees have disappeared from their natural habitats within the last 100 years. This makes it nearly impossible to count their populations. Without having an exact count, researchers struggle to gauge their diminishing numbers. The lack of clear data makes finding reasons for the dwindling bee species difficult and finding a solution to those problems impossible.

What can we do to Help?

We can be of great help in protecting the bee populations in our own towns and neighborhoods. Our local efforts can have a global impact and help create a healthier world. And it is rather simple to do. While beekeeping is a respectable and enriching pastime, it is not for everyone. For those maintaining hectic work and social schedules, or living in tight conditions, the cost and time required to start a hive are not always attainable.

Instead, it's the little things that matter. Things like only putting insect friendly materials on and around your plants and flowers. Plant more flowers and butterfly gardens in your yard, local parks, and community gardening plots. Encourage your friends and families to do the same. Many bee-friendly flowers are low maintenance and upkeep is a perfect family activity. And when you plant these new gardens, make sure you are buying native plants that will not disrupt local ecosystems. Ensure that they are plants that naturally grow in your area and confirm that they are not invasive or likely to kill off other natural plants the bees use for survival. Plants that can house both butterfly and bee larvae are ideal.

Landscaping your entire yard is unnecessary; leaving nature in charge of certain areas of your property will benefit the bee population. There is no need to burn or get rid of an old log sitting on your property. The bees will make a home in it. If there are bare areas of ground where you have wanted to spread grass seed, don't. Female bees will burrow in this to make their nests and feed their young.

Create ground nests or bee blocks for native bees. This will ensure that they have homes to make their own. And buy local honey and beeswax. This promotes the economy in your area. Supporting your local beekeepers will allow them to keep their natural apiary practices going.

which bees are endangered

In Conclusion

Bees are a very important part of our lives and ecosystems, regardless of your personal opinions about them. They might be some of the hardest working creatures out there in the wild. Where else would we get the term "busy bee"? They are constantly working to gather pollen and nectar for themselves to make honey and beeswax for both current use and to stock up for the winter months. And all the while, and unintentionally, they are working for us. They are pollinating our flowers, our gardens, and our commercial crops. They are producing honey for us to enjoy.

We make skincare and candles using the wax they naturally produce. Sure there are other amazing creatures and insects assisting with this job, but we cannot forget these amazing creatures and all that their hard work provides for us and our agricultural endeavors. Without them, we would be at a loss for sure.

Knowing which bees are endangered is only half the battle of protecting them. We have a larger role to fulfill. We have to be vigilant in how we handle our plants, our yards, and our properties. Though unintentionally, mankind's practices have caused devastation to bee populations. We have a responsibility to our children and the generations that will come afterward to leave this world a little better than it is. We can plant with care, adding to the world's beauty and not taking away from it. We can stop the use of harmful pesticides, containing chemicals as bad for the bees as they are for us. We can make sure they have quality habitats to live in and raise their offspring. Forget about having to have the perfect yard and garden space. Leave that space for the bees. People with allergies or other medical conditions are understandably unlikely to cultivate bee populations in their yards. But there has to be a balance. We have to take bees into consideration. Because without them, there is no us.

Are Bees Arthropods? – A Complete Guidelines For Beekeepers

are bees arthropods

Beekeeping, or apiculture, is the practice of managing honeybee colonies for bee products such as honey, beeswax, and others.  Beekeeping is a gainful hobby for many people. Are bees playing a significant role in agriculture?

Are Bees Arthropods?

Indeed, honey bees play a remarkable role in agriculture by being the major pollinator of crops. In biological classification, the term 'Arthropoda'  means 'animals with jointed legs'. Arthropods are invertebrates. That includes all animals without a backbone.

Phylum Arthropoda is a principal taxonomic category under which there can be several subgroups called 'classes.' Being a retired biology teacher, I can recall how students I taught in different countries found it difficult to pronounce certain biological terms derived from Greek or Latin.

A typical example is the term 'Arthropoda.' The term Arthropoda is derived from the combination of two Greek words namely 'Arthro' (jointed) and 'pod' (foot). So, animals with jointed legs and segmented body among invertebrates belong to the phylum Arthropoda in the hierarchy of biological classification.

The common species of honey bee reared by beekeepers is the European honeybee called Apis mellifera. Bees are raised in beehives. In nature, bees build their hives on rocks, trees, crevices, and others.

Apiculture is the practice of keeping honeybees for producing honey and other bee products for commercial purposes. Besides, beekeepers raise honeybees for producing honeybee livestock for sale to other beekeepers. Valuable bee products such as bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis are derived from honey bees.  

Why Bees are Arthropods?

Animals belonging to phylum Arthropoda have some basic characteristic features such as the presence of:   

  • Chitinous exoskeleton
  • Segmented body
  • Jointed appendages
  • Forumbee
    Bilateral symmetry 
  • Forumbee
    Open circulatory system

Honey bees possess all the basic characteristics mentioned above, and they are undoubtedly arthropods.

What are the Classes under Phylum Arthropoda?

Based on body appendages, habitat, organs of respiration, mode of excretion, etc., Phylum Arthropoda is classified into the following classes, namely:

  • Crustacea: It includes arthropods such as crabs, lobsters, shrimps, barnacles, woodlice, etc.
  • Myriapoda: It includes arthropods such as millipedes and centipedes.
  • Arachnida: It includes arthropods such as scorpions, spiders, ticks, and mites.
  • Forumbee
    Insecta: It includes all insects including the honeybees. 

How To Become a Successful Beekeeper

beekeeper holding a hive

A beekeeper always looks for best results, be it producing bee products such as honey, beeswax or others or for pollination services. If you want to be a successful beekeeper, the basic requirement is planning.

A thorough knowledge about local nectar flow helps to know certain vital information such as the crop that yields the best nectar, pollen, time of nectar flow, location of crops and their density.  

With this knowledge, the beekeeper can shift honeybee colonies to various locations. Besides gathering bee products, the beekeeper can also help in pollinating various crops of plant growers.  

Are bees arthropods that lead a well-organized social life?  A beekeeper should know the biology of honey bees, their instincts, and social behavior well. It helps to enhance the productivity of the colony.  

Being social insects with members such as queen, drones, and workers in the colony, they exhibit a high degree of social order and division of labor.  

For successful beekeeping, management of bees should focus on the welfare of the entire bee colony rather than on individual bees.

For this, the beekeeper must have a deep knowledge of the life cycle of honeybees and seasonal cycles of their colony. Also, knowledge about the roles of various members of the colonies and bee diseases help in managing beehives efficiently.

While focusing on the commercial aspect of raising bees for honey, beeswax, and other products, the beekeeper shouldn't ignore the requirement of adequate food, water, and proper health of honeybees for sustained profit from the industry.

Apply the right beekeeping technique suitable for local conditions to ensure good colony health and maximum colony strength at desired times.

So, plan your beekeeping strategy based on factors such as local nectar flows, pollination opportunities, and market value of honey to achieve the desired results. 

Modern Beehives

modern beehives

Are bees arthropods that are too sensitive to the environment? Yes, they are. The modern designs of beehives provide an environment that mimics the natural environment of bees. The design of beehives enables easy removal of individual frames of honeycomb for inspection and manipulation.

A well-designed hive will have dimensions of the removable frames similar to that of honeycomb built in the wild by bees. By allowing about 8 mm 'bee space' between frames, you can enable free movement of bees to build additional honey comb in the spaces. Also, it will enable the easy removal of frames for inspection whenever needed.  

In a standard beehive, the following parts are present:  

  • A bottom board
  • One or two brood chambers (each with 9 or 10 removable frames)
  • One queen excluder (it prevents the  movement of the queen bee from the brood chamber to the honey supers)
  • Forumbee
    One or more honey supers  (boxes each containing 9 or 10 removable frames)
  • Forumbee
    An inner cover
  • Forumbee
    A telescoping hive cover

Importance of Proper Beekeeping Tools and Equipment

Are bees arthropods that are dangerous upon provocation? If the beehive or a colony of bees is disturbed, the bees become aggressive and swarm around to attack. Bee stings are painful. Body parts such as the face, neck, chest, and hands, are more prone to bee stings.

There will be swelling and pain around the affected part. Severe allergic reaction may occur in certain cases. For protection from bee attacks, and for manipulation of the beehive, a beekeeper should be well-equipped.

The following basic beekeeping tools should be in the collection of the beekeeper for protection and manipulation of hives.  

  • Beekeeper hat with veil
  • Hive tool
  • Bee brush

For maximum protection from bee attacks, you may use a full bee suit with gloves. 

Management and Basic Examination of Beehives 

Bee keepers holding beehive

Do bees arthropods require constant monitoring? It is essential for beekeepers to examine beehives at least once in ten days from spring until fall. This is for ensuring proper nutrition, maintenance of proper health, and proper spacing.

The best time for examination will be on a warm, sunny day, when the velocity of wind is low. This prevents sudden chilling of the brood. Also, most field bees will forage, making inspection relatively easier.  

While inspecting the beehive, look for: 

  1. Presence of freshly laid eggs: This shows that the queen bee is present, even if you may not see the queen during the inspection. 
  2. Brood pattern: The brood pattern should be good. A spotty brood appearance may be due to the poor performance of the queen bee, or due to some health issues.
  3. Presence of enough honey and pollen: If you see less food storage and only less quantity of external food is present, the colony may need supplemental feeding.
  4. The appearance of disease signs: If you observe any signs of disease, take appropriate action for treatment.  
  5. Space: If the colony is healthy, and if there is an abundant supply of food, bees will multiply fast.  As a result, there will be a space problem for the members of the bee colony forcing them to swarm.  

Importance of a Beekeeper's Calendar

Are bees arthropods the beekeeper needs to maintain by using a beekeeper's calendar?  A beekeeper's calendar enables the beekeeper to keep track of all activities throughout the year.

It helps to take timely action whenever necessary. By using the beekeeper's calendar, the beekeeper can be well-organized to make beekeeping a profitable venture.
 
Usually, in February and March beekeepers examine the colony and ensure that there is an adequate supply of food and that the bees are healthy.  If a colony shows any signs of weakness, combine it with a strong colony.

If a colony becomes too strong, the beekeeper will have to divide it into two colonies. Replace the poor-performing queen and add new ones.  Remove the beekeeping equipment from colonies that did not survive the winter.

During April and May, beekeepers need to check the availability of enough space for the expanding colony. Bees that outgrow their space will swarm. During swarming, a little over half of the bee population will start another colony. This is not welcome since the beekeeper will lose that year's honey crop from the colony that swarms.

In June and July, collect maximum honey and pollen for the year. During this period, the beekeeper will have to visit the hives every day for harvesting. Remove full boxes of honey for extracting and return empty boxes to the hives for refilling. Empty the pollen traps and preserve the collected pollen in freezers.  

By August and September, collect the last of the honey crop and allow the bees to prepare for winter. Redistribute the brood to make all colonies equal in strength. Feed the colonies if needed. Combine weak colonies to make them strong. In colder climates, wrap all the colonies in an insulated blanket by October.

You Can Become A Successful Beekeeper!

If you want to become a successful beekeeper, many resources are available to gather valuable information on beekeeping.  You can gain in-depth knowledge from excellent books and periodicals on beekeeping.

Also, you can visit some successful beekeepers and discuss various aspects of beekeeping. They will be more than happy to share their experience and expertise for you to learn from them. With determination and hard work, you can be a successful beekeeper running a profitable business.  

Conclusion 

Are bees arthropods that require proper management for maximum profit? The answer is yes. In biological classification, honey bees belong to Class Insecta that comes under Phylum Arthropoda.

Arthropoda in Greek means animals with jointed legs. Being social insects, honeybees maintain social order with a remarkable level of division of labor among members. Honeybees are a gift of nature to mankind for valuable bee products and for food production through pollination.  

Will Bees Go Extinct – What Every Beekeeper Should Know

Will Bees Go Extinct

There has been a lot of very scary news about bees recently. Their population numbers are down across almost all species of bee, with some species even being added to the endangered list. Their habitats are being destroyed, they face attacks from pesticides, competing insects and disease, and they are being forced to adapt to the effects of climate change. This has led to wild speculation on all sides, including from many who wonder: will bees go extinct?

This article looks at what is happening to the bees, the possibilities that bees could actually go extinct and what that would mean to humans if that were to happen. The entire bee species is at a crossroads right now and we as humans have to make choices about what we will do about it. Should we help save the bees or let them continue down the path to extinction?


What is Happening to the Bees?

First, if we want to know the answer to the question "will bees go extinct", we need to examine the current state of the world’s bee population. Starting in 2006, for reasons we do not understand, the overall number of bees worldwide has been shrinking. Unfortunately, it is difficult to estimate the world bee population for a variety of reasons.

There are over 20,000 different species of bee located across the globe and tracking the total numbers of all combined bees would require a massive, multi-national effort that came at great expense to all involved. Furthermore, only about 30% of the world’s bee species use a stable hive structure. The other 70% of species are far more mobile, making their numbers difficult to estimate even with advanced tracking procedures.

That said, there have been some very disturbing numbers that have been found for several specific species and regions. In the United States, for example, the bee population is thought to have dropped 30% in the last five years alone. In Iowa, historically one of the nation’s largest honey producing states, there has been a 70% drop in bee populations.

will bees go extinct

Habitat Destruction

The rusty patched bumblebee has seen a staggering 90% drop in their overall population, leading to their addition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Endangered Species List. The rusty patched bumblebee used to be common throughout the Midwest and Northeast, however many of their natural habitats have been destroyed, leaving them fewer natural food sources and far less inhabitable territory.

This is an issue across the United States and beyond, with bee habitats disappearing at an astonishing rate. The issue tends to be that every bee species requires a unique selection of flowers and plants to get all the different nutrients they require. If they lose access to even a single species of flower needed for their survival, then they can no longer survive in that area, and it forces the bees to migrate elsewhere or die off.

This is one of the main factors that has led to a decrease in the Hawaiian yellow-faced bee’s numbers to the point that they too have been added to the Endangered Species List. Seven different species of native Hawaiian yellow-faced bees are now facing extinction because the native plants they live off of are being destroyed by industrial development or pushed out by invasive species. Including the rusty patched bumblebee, there are now eight total bees on the Endangered Species list when as recently as 2012 there were none.

Pesticide Use

Another reason that bees have been dying off is the widespread use of pesticides. Farmers use pesticides to keep destructive bugs away from their crops. However, the toxic chemicals can also impact the wellness of the harmless insects and other animals that come in contact with their spray.

A particular class of pesticides called neonicotinoids have been shown to have a particularly detrimental impact on bee populations. When the bees fly through neonicotinoid-treated areas, the poisons are absorbed both through their exoskeletons and through the pollen they come in contact with.

The effects of these pesticides can be deadly in some bees. However, they can also cripple the population in many other ways as well. Bees can lose their sense of direction and not be able to find their way back to the hive, they can stop cleaning their hives and become susceptible to disease, and they can lose their queen and not be able to replace her. Losing a queen ends a hive’s ability to reproduce, meaning it will soon collapse from lack of replacement.

Colony Collapse Disorder

Just as losing a queen can devastate a hive, so too can losing all of its workers. This happens during instances of a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD used to be a rare phenomenon, however since 2006 it has been happening with increasing frequency.

For reasons we still do not understand, a hive’s worker bees all die or disappear within a short time. The queen is left, along with the immature bees and their caretakers, however without the hive’s worker population they all will die off, eventually.

a colony of bees

Will Bees Go Extinct?

"Will bees go extinct" is a very good question to ask. The honey industry ironically is one of the potential causes of the declines in bee population. However, it may also be one reason that total extinction is unlikely. Honey manufacturers have contributed to a decrease in bee biodiversity as they encourage populations of honey super-producers to the potential detriment of the bee population as a whole.

All species of bee take part in the pollination process. However, only a segment of the bee population produces honey. Encouraging only honeybee populations means that only those plants that benefit from their pollination specifically will thrive while those plants that rely on other species of bee will struggle.

That said, the honey industry is also one of the groups that is most invested in the overall wellness of the bee population, and they've made enormous contributions to the research and conservation efforts. The huge amount of private honey farms makes it unlikely that bees could ever completely go extinct. However, this is not a guarantee.

Incidents of CCD have more than doubled since 2006 and show no signs of decreasing. Laws are being put in place to curb neonicotinoid usage, however, even if they are banned the agricultural industry will more than likely just move on to other brands of pesticide. Pesticide usage remains an issue that needs to be addressed for the bees’ health, if not for the health of humans at large.

While honeybees may face little risk of extinction, the greater danger is to the thousands of other species of bees that are not as well protected, yet still play a critical role in our ecosystem. There is a very real chance that many of these species could die off, starting with the eight species that have already been listed as endangered.

Many scientists see little hope for the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees given the specificity of their diet and the minuscule size of their potential habitat, and the rusty patched bumblebee’s odds are little better. Over 90% of bee species have seen declines in their overall population numbers, and we have yet to see any information that would lead us to believe that this trend will change any time soon.


What Will Happen if the Bees Go Extinct?

The real issue with losing bees is that with them we also lose the agricultural and environmental benefits they provide. Bees are responsible for spreading the reproductive materials of about 30% of the earth’s plants. However, up to 90% of the ecosystems on earth are benefited by the roles that bees play in them.

We truly cannot even imagine what would happen to the world’s food supplies if we lost out on the benefits that bees provide. However, the impact would forever alter our food cultivating and distributing practices and potentially destabilize the global economy. The diversity and the quantity of foodstuffs available to us would shrink immeasurably, and with shrinking food supplies naturally comes shrinking population numbers. It is not the place of this article to speculate what form this population shrinkage would take or how the governments of the world would react to it, but, mass starvation is a scenario that no human wants to confront.

bees colony gathering

Conclusion

As bleak a picture as this article may paint regarding the future, there are still some things that you can do to help fight against bee depopulation. When purchasing honey or other bee byproducts, make sure you are buying local, ethically sourced brands. Try to avoid massive industrial honey farms and focus instead on patronizing those producers that contribute to the health of indigenous bee populations.

You can also donate your time, money, and resources, to pro-bee causes. There are hundreds of organizations that are working to promote bee wellness at local, state, and government levels, and they always need more volunteers. Sign some online petitions to end neonicotinoid use or start one of your own, and take it to you regional representatives.

On a personal level, you can always start your own bee-friendly garden, bee hotel, or apiary. Remember to focus on local plants that are used by many types of bees, not just the honey producers. Every little step counts and the more people that help fight for the bees, the better their chances of survival are. So, will bees go extinct? Not if we can help it, they won't.

Can Bees Fly? The Physics Behind Such Wonder of Nature

can bees fly

It may seem obvious that since you usually see a bee airborne, it must be flying. Logic dictates that bees can fly. But then, why is this topic so controversial? Why is it that even scientists are in disagreement over the question: can bees fly? It is a good thing that advancements in modern technology have finally given us some perspective on the topic. Previous attempts have been in vain, because a bee flaps its wings so rapidly that it was difficult to detect, or even study their movements while in the air.

With a combination of a robotic model of a bee wing and high-speed digital photography, scientists have unraveled the baffling mystery of how bees fly. The earlier methods of relating aerodynamics of helicopters, and airplanes have been unsuccessful in trying to describe flight in animals as compared to robotics prototypes that can flap wings freely. This new approach has been vital for scientists to make a significant breakthrough on the subject.

Unique Features Of A Bee That Explain How They Can Fly

can bees fly

Before we analyze the scientific explanation of a bee's flight, let us acknowledge what is noticeable when a bee is flying. Has it ever occurred to you to question where the buzzing sound comes from when bees are flying? Well, the buzzing sound comes from the rapid flapping wings of a bee. A bee has two wings on either side of its body. The four wings are held in place by hamuli, teeth-like structures that resemble a comb. This wing setup of a bee gives it greater lift when flying because the wings held by the teeth create a sufficient amount of surface.

The thorax muscles of a bee squeeze in two directions, either in an up-down motion or from left to right. The rhythmic movement of the muscles alternates in the same way you breathe rhythmically. The only difference is instead of air being sucked in, the bee uses the motions created by the rhythm to make its wings flap. This motion results in the bee's wings flapping at a faster rate and finally lifting off.

How Science Explains Bees Flying

As mentioned earlier, while the question "can bees fly?" may seem silly, scientists have never really understood how. The wings of a bee are fixed to their bodies. Hence, it makes little sense how bees can be airborne. If bees can fly, that would mean they have to move their rigid wings back and forth to do so. However, bee wings are small compared to their body size, such that even at a rate of 230 beats in a second, it should be impossible to fly. Using high definition cameras to record the process of bees flying finally solved the mystery for scientists.

The key to figuring out how bees can fly is through studying their wings. Scientists think bees should not be able because their wings are rigid and attached closely their bodies. To that point, experimental videos have shown that instead of being rigid, the wings rotate and twist when they are in flight mode. This rhythmic motion creates enough energy to allow the bees to fly. Other insects have a more efficient method of flight than bees because their back-and-forth motion is longer. This causes them to have slower wing beat rates as compared to bees, and that is why other insects can get to higher lift-offs with little effort.

Bees use more effort to fly from one place to another. Bees, especially honeybees, use more power when flying since they carry huge amounts of pollen and nectar they collect to make honey.

a group of bee flying

How Bees stay Airborne With Such Tiny Wings

In the 1930s, bees seemed to defy logic by flying despite the appearance that their wings were too small for their sizes and could not give them enough energy to lift them up and maintain them during flight. But despite the obvious confusion bees have caused for scientists, bees have always been flying and couldn't care less what humans think about them.

Recent mathematical analysis has shown a more holistic picture that explains how bees, small birds, and other insects with wings fly. In the years leading up to 1992, scientists presumed that the way bees fly is the same way airplanes also fly: the continuous airflow over the wings generates the liftoff energy necessary for flying. However, observations made in 1996 showed that bees have airflow resembling tiny tornadoes that form leading-edge vortices (LEVs).

Scientists assumed that the discovery of the leading edge vortices and the tornado-like drafts were the big break they needed to understand how bees can fly. However, after doing more research and experimentations, scientists were astonished to discover that these leading edge vortices add no extra energy to contribute to a bee's flight. Instead, they found out that the LEVs only give the wings a more acute angle that allows bees to fly without stalling.
After this discovery, they created several mathematical models with differing mechanisms creating lift and compared them to the previous results from original experiments. This technique gave them a more concrete ground to understand how can bees fly.

What do the Tiny Tornadoes do?

The leading edge vortices add no strength that contributes to the lift-off of a bee. This shocked many scientists and prompted them to run more tests. With time, they discovered that the vortices give the bee a sharper angle during flight which allows the bee to fly along a sharper route towards the sky. The LEVs also provide a swift airflow over the wings of a bee which indirectly aids in the liftoff.

Assuming that a bee was in the air, and its leading edge vortices for whatever reason stopped spinning, the bee would be suspended in the air with no motion. The change in pressure between the underside and the top of the wings that gives it a lift when flying would drop. As a result--we all know what the force of gravity does to objects suspended in the air--the bee would drop. In simpler terms, the purpose of the leading edge vortices is to prevent this suspension from happening when the bee is in the air and thus avoid any cases of a bee falling.

a flying bee

So, Can Bees Fly?

Seeing is believing; we've all seen it that bees fly. Counterintuitively, depending on their body structure among other factors, the ability of bees to fly has been a confusing subject for many scholars and scientists. The many kinds of research done have swayed speculation in various directions. The following are assumptions and facts you can count on to comprehend how a bee can fly:

  1. Science explains that the buzzing sound produced by bees comes from the flapping of their wings when flying. Also, sometimes bees create this buzzing sound to communicate with each other. Some people speculate that this communication often shows that a bee is trying to convey a message that it's agitated or distressed. Scientists have also observed that bumblebees give off a buzz not to fly but to produce enough vibration to extract pollen from closed flowers.
  2. Traditionally, people argued that bees don't fly, but levitate around in a motion that mimics flight and makes the human eye believe they are flying. This argument was disregarded as just a myth because there was no sufficient evidence to support it.
  3. There is no certain consensus on how can bees fly. Creation of a tornado-like airflow is one experiment scientists have conducted to bring light into the question. Comparing a flying bee and an airplane is another way to look for answers to how a bee can fly. But then, this technological approach will more likely to lead to a conclusion that bees seem like they are following the laws of physics and motion when flying. The balance that enables planes to fly is the lift, weight, drag, and thrust. These factors also apply to bees since they put in the effort during liftoff despite their large body size to wing ratio. If you compare the size of a plane to its wings, you can see that a bee is not defying the laws of science and can fly the same way as a plane. A plane can stay in the air because its wings press the air beneath them which makes the plane push upward. Similarly, the vortices on a bee cause them to move in a sharp upward manner by creating tiny tornadoes or mini hurricanes that have a lower pressure than the air below the wings, which pushes the bees upward.

Conclus​​​​ion

While it may seem odd to even ask whether bees can fly, this is rather a fascinating subject. As mentioned, there are a lot of theories out there. However, it is safe to sum it up by saying that science is catching up to the secret behind the flight of bees. Although bees require more effort to attain enough lift to fly, they use wind and LEVs, enabling them to move effortlessly even when they are carrying loads of nectar and pollen back to their hives for honey making.

Is It Legal To Keep Bees In A Residential Area Or Not? Beekeepers Guide

is it legal to keep bees in a residential area

If you're interested in beekeeping, then you may want to have easy access to your bees by keeping them close to your home. However, if you live in a residential area, there may be some complications on this front. Aside from the difficulties in successfully keeping bees in these areas, you may also run into legal problems as well.

Even if you've done your research and feel ready to rise to the challenges of residential beekeeping, that knowledge won't do you much good if the law prohibits keeping bees where you live. While there isn't a blanket answer across the country to this question, you can quickly learn whether or not your residential area allows you to keep bees.

Contact Your City Officials

A straightforward way to learn if it's legal to keep bees in your residential area is to contact your city's officials. Do not call 911, but instead look up your area's non-emergency services department. Someone may be able to answer your question, direct you to someone else who can, or even tell you the proper location to look up the laws for yourself.

If your City Clerk or other official gives you a resource, don't forget to copy down the information. Taking these notes can save you the trouble of trying to remember what they said later on.

is it legal to keep bees in a residential area

Search for Online Databases

In the digital age, you can find most laws and ordinances published online. Search for your city's specific beekeeping ordinances online. You may see your city's website or even another online archive of statutes. While most of these resources are up to date, confirm that you're accessing the latest versions of your ordinances in case laws have recently changed, especially when using third party resources.

Once you have the relevant laws, search them for references to bees and beekeeping. Thankfully, digital searches often make finding the applicable laws simple by letting you target specific keywords. Pay attention to whatever wording used to determine if your residential area:

  • Expressly states its stance on beekeeping
  • Lists bees as prohibited
  • Prohibits beekeeping in residential areas with certain exceptions
  • Doesn't have any laws related to bees or beekeeping
  • Has regulations for acceptable beekeeping

No matter what your city's ordinances say about bees, you'll want to follow the rules as outlined. And if you live in an area that allows residential beekeeping, make sure you've taken the appropriate steps to care for your bees properly.