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What is the BUZZ about BEES?
Transcript of What is the BUZZ about BEES?
Bees are just like you and me. They come in different colors, shapes and sizes!
Some bees can be big and fuzzy...
and other bees can be
Bees are a group of insects that can sometimes be confused with flies and wasps. Can you pick out the bee?
Bees have 4 wings while flies have 2 wings
Most bees are hairy while wasps are not
Bees vs Flies
Bees vs Wasps
Bees have smaller eyes and longer antennae than flies
Bees carry loads of pollen, flies do not
Most bees carry pollen using special hairs, wasps do not
Why are bees so important?
What is pollination?
Why should you care about bees and pollination?
3. While both male and female bees have hair, only females have specialized hairs or baskets for collecting pollen.
This fringe of hairs is called the '
' and is located on the hind legs or on the underside of the abdomen.
The pollen baskets or '
' are also located on the hind leg.
1. Bees visit flowers to drink nectar which gives them energy. They suck up the nectar using their tongues. This is called 'foraging.'
Bees and pollination
What do bees do when they are not foraging?
How many species of bees are there?
2. In the process, the hairs on the bees collect pollen.
The honeybee is just 1 species out of 20,000!!*
There are a number of things that bees could be doing when not at flowers...
BUT, in order to figure this out we need to look at their life cycles and biologies...
There are 'social' and 'solitary' bees
: having at least two females that live in the same nest. One female being the queen and the other(s) being the worker(s).
These females share the work of constructing and taking care of the nest.
Each female constructs and takes care of her own nest without the help of others.*
Honeybees and bumblebees are examples of social bee species
Contrary to what many people think, most bee species are solitary.
of the bees in the U.S. don't live in colonies!
Life cycle of a solitary bee
Life cycle of a social bee
What happens to the males?
Raise your hand if you like...
Do bees have predators?
The males only stick around for reproductive purposes. Once they are mature adults they leave the nest in search of a mate and die after a few weeks. Most males only mate one time.
Also, since they don't return to the nests like the females do, they tend to sleep inside flowers or they attach themselves onto stems of plants using their mandibles
12 antennal segments
6 abdominal segments
13 antennal segments
7 abdominal segments
Some males have white or yellow hairs or color on their faces
Egg: 1-3 weeks
Larva: several weeks
The larva eats the pollen
All of the bees growth occurs during the larval stages
Pupa: anywhere from months to a year
Egg is laid on a ball of pollen
A fully formed adult bee emerges from the pupa
Adult: ~3-6 weeks
After the female emerges, she mates then begins looking for a suitable nest site
During her life she lays 20-30 eggs
Nests of Solitary bees
Nests of Social bees
Queen emerges from hibernation:
Once she emerges, she begins foraging and searching for a nest
Queen prepares nest:
She creates wax pots to hold nectar and pollen
She lays and incubates her eggs
Her offspring emerge:
The female offspring become workers and help collect pollen for new eggs
The males leave the nest to mate and do not return
End of the cycle:
As fall arrives, new queens and males mate
The original queen, males and unmated females die
The newly mated queens find a place underground to hibernate
Queens are much larger than workers and males
Old rodent nests
Old bird nests and bird houses
On or in trees
Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther (male) to the stigma (female) of a flower which then allows fertilization and development of seeds.
Globally there are 7 families. 6 of these families have species in North America:
Polyester bees, line cells with cellophane-like substance
Mining bees, excavate nests in ground
Sweat bees, most frequent encountered over summer
Oil-collecting bees, collect oil as well as pollen
Leaf cutter and mason bees, line cells with leaves and petals
bumble, carpenter and other bees
Should you be scared of bees?
Bees are harmless and only get aggressive when they feel threatened. They feel threatened if you grab them, step on them or disrupt their hive/nest. They just go about their days like you and I.
If you are allergic to bees, just make sure you wear shoes and watch your step when barefoot
Instead of being scared of bees we should learn to love them for all of the great things they provide us!
Are bees in trouble?
Yes, bees are in trouble.
Habitat loss and Fragmentation
Parasites and non-native species
Pollution and pesticides
There is a decrease in suitable habitat, such as nesting sites and floral resources, due to agriculture and urbanization. Bees can only travel so far to get the food they need.
Many mites and diseases have been introduced through shipping bees between countries.These infect and can eventually kill their host bee. Honey bees and some bumblebees are affected by parasites
Non-native plant species can decrease the quality of habitat
Air pollution can decrease the ability of bees to follow scent trails to flowers
Pesticides, such as neonicotinoids are also playing a roll
Bees come out when flowers bloom, flowers bloom when the weather is just right. Change in climate may affect when flowers bloom and bees may not follow the same cue
Flowers may shift where they live if they can no longer handle the weather conditions. If the flowers that the bees rely on "leave" then how will the bees get food? This could also go in reverse with bees shifting where they live, causing problems for flowers and other pollinators.
What can you do to help?
friendly to our bees
Take some time to watch bees in action. Pick a flowering plant on a warm sunny day, pause in front of it and you will be surprised at all the bees buzzing around.
Flowers for food
Nesting habitats: make nesting blocks or leave old birds nests lying around
Spread the BUZZ:
Tell your family, friends and teachers what you have learned today.
Talk to your family and/or school about setting up bee habitat! Create a garden of native plants or add them to an existing garden to attract bees: May is garden for wildlife month!!
Convince your parents to use bee-friendly gardening and landscape practices
By following some simple guidelines, your space could be certified as pollinator habitat!
Shrubs or tall grasses for cover
Take part in BioBlitz! May 16-17 at Emmenegger Nature Park!
a group of individuals that can actually or potentially interbreed nature
This is why there are so many different kinds of bees,
because there are many different kinds of flowers!
*alfalfa for cows (alfalfa leaf cutter bees)
*Degrees of sociality
For more info:
$11.23 Barnes & Noble
Free STL Zoo
Free: Pollinator.org, Xerces.org and Fs.fed.us