Bees and the environment

Whilst a lot of people see bees as pests that annoy you during the summer, the facts are that they’re actually integral to our ecosystem. Whether you’ve seen them buzzing past Melbourne driveways or sunflowers, it’s important to understand just how they affect our environment. In today’s blog, we’re going to take you through the importance of honeybees and share some things that you can do in your own yard to help shelter and protect them.

Are bees really important?

Yes, bees are very important. Other than the fact that they produce honey, beeswax and propolis – which is a widely loved delicacy – they’re also responsible for pollinating three-quarters of the plants that produce 90% of our food. This makes sense as there are actually more honeybees than any other bee – as well as any other pollinating insect – in the world.

Foods like avocados (yes, that means no smashed avo without bees!), celery, cucumbers, peaches, cherries, melons and many more all require pollination. Bees also pollinate crops such as cotton, flax and almonds – just to name a few. Bees are highly essential to our agricultural industry as well – as pollination effectively increases the quantity of produce as well as the quality of it. It also hardens crops against pests – making them more resilient.

 

How does pollination work?

Basically, pollen is produced in a flower’s stamen – commonly known as the male part of a flower – and makes its way up to the stigma – which is the female part of a flower. This is the pollination process within a flower or plant. Cross-pollination, however, is when pollen from one plant is transferred to another plant’s stigma. This produces stronger plants – provided the two plants are the same type – and is helped along by bees.

 

The relationship between bees and flowers

It’s a common misconception that bees actually produce pollen. The facts, are though, that when bees land on flowers, the pollen sticks to them. They actually collect the pollen purposely along with nectar to feed their colonies. Pollination with other plants is just a by-product of a honeybee’s daily duties.

Flowers also supply bees with nectar – which is a sweet liquid that they produce to attract bees and other animals in the first place. When combined with enzymes and oxygen over a week, the nectar will become honey.

When bees drink the nectar, it is stored in an internal pouch for transportation to the colony. During the nectar retrieval process, pollen sticks to the honeybee’s body. As they land on other flowers to collect their nectar, the pollen from previous flowers is released onto the new one.

Because plants are disadvantaged in terms of being immobile – they’re unable to find mates. It’s because of this that they rely on external agents – known as vectors – such as honeybees to do the matchmaking for them. The male genetics are carried within the pollen, which is why pollen must travel to the female part of a plant in order for fertilisation to occur.

Provided both the plants are of the same species, a strong offspring will be produced thanks to the cross-pollination assisted by bees. Reproduction would be basically impossible for several species of plants if it weren’t for bees. The same logic also applies to fruit and vegetables – two types of food that we consume on a daily basis.

 

How can you support them?

There are a few things that you can do in your own yard to help honeybees along and encourage them to continue to pollinate and feed their colony.

  • If possible, try to avoid using chemicals when servicing your garden as they can be harmful to the bees and the pollination process.
  • Consider planting a diverse array of plants in your garden to entice honeybees and encourage pollination by giving them a wide selection.
  • Mowing your grass very short constantly can take away food sources and habitats for bees so it’s worth leaving it a bit longer.

Need a company that can handle Melbourne driveways?

A Better Driveway is an experienced concrete company specialising in Melbourne driveways. Our highly trained contractors know what concrete works best and will work with you to ensure that your vision and dreams are met in a timely and professional manner. Whether you’re looking for exposed aggregate, coloured or textured concrete, we’ll be able to sort out your driveway in no time.

So, if you’re looking for a company that can handle driveways in Melbourne, then get in touch with us by calling (03) 9308 6112. You can also contact us via the form on our website.