Gardening the Bhutanese Way

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Hardworking Honeybees

Many a health dieticians recommend honey for general weakness or as an ailment in many cases.  And so do many relish the healthy and sweet taste that it offers.  But have anyone given a thought as to how strained the worker honeybees were in the process?

 Except for being a gluttonous consumer, we fail to realize the fact and appreciate the tremendous efforts put therein by the honeybees. And so negligent are we to the extent of harming the creature that actually nurtured us. Neither do we apprehend the need to maintain a balance in the ecosystem.  Maliciously we succumb them to the fiery attack or extract honey by unfair means.  

Honeybees are social insects with caste distinction and vivid division of labor, namely; the queen (fertile female), drones (fertile males) and workers (sterile females). Each caste has its own specific place in the colony and role too.
The queen, worker and the drone bee.
Well, the worker honeybees spends its arduous early 3 weeks life doing the indoor chores like constructing honey comb, cleaning, feeding the queen as well as the drones. It’s so to say that 3-4 worker bees are required to feed the languid drones.

The remaining 3 weeks do they lead a life of uphill struggle in their voyage round the earth in an endeavor to collect pollens, nectar, water, propolis and etcetera.  The worker honeybees fly 90,000 miles, the distance equal to 3 orbits round the earth to produce a kilogram of honey. An approximate of 2 million flowers do they have to visit to make 0.5kg of honey.

The sluggish drones do nothing except mating with the queen. They die immediately after mating, referred to as sexual suicide or are  driven out of the colony by the workers. They are stout in their physique and lead an indolent life, an utter contradiction to that of the worker or nurse bees.

The queen leads the bee colony and as such only a single queen is allowed per colony. Around 6 days after its emergence, it undertakes a nuptial flight during which thousands of drones tag along. The queen mates with a dozen or more drones During this, the queen stores millions of spermatozoa in her spermatheca.For this reason, the queen may be ascribed as a perfect egg laying machine on account of its ability to fertilize and lay eggs at her own will.

It’s so believed that life on earth will sustain only for 4 years if honeybees cease to exist. This is factual due to the immense role played by them in pollination of various crops which is a prerequisite to a bumper yield. How tedious and long-winded procedure would it be if we have to it all by ourselves?

Furthermore, the delectable honey which most of us relish; the bee wax molded into products like the cosmetics, shoe polishes, adhesives; and the bee venom used in the treatment of rheumatism, termed as Apitherapy are some of the notable outcomes of the hard toil of honeybees.

A rough sketch...
On account of the aforesaid benefits, I would suggest that Apiculture, the art and science of raising honeybees would be remunerative as well as a gratifying and heart-thrilling experience. And let’s submit our salute to this group of hardworking and dedicated creatures.

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