The honey bee plays a very important role in the survival of mankind. Albert Einstein was once quoted as saying, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” Bees alone pollinate about 180,000 different types of plants. The simple bee pollinates about 75% of the crops listed as leading food crops.
Bees are used and managed by farmers to pollinate crops, which contribute $15 billion to the U.S. economy annually. 90% of almonds, which contribute $5 billion to the United States economy, are pollinated by bees. Bees are able to contribute $217 billion annually to the global economy. Bees are very important creatures, but they are dying. In 2016, 44% of all hives in the United States died. In 1960, the United States had about 6 million hives, today we are down to just over 2.5 million hives.
Bees are amazing little creatures that communicate with each other in a very unique way. The Waggle dance is the way that bees communicate with one another. Once a bee finds a new food source, the bee will fly back to the hive and do the intricate waggle dance to tell the other worker bees where the new food source is.
The dance starts out with the bee doing what is called the waggle run. The waggle run is just a straight line, but it tells other bees how far away the flowers are. If the flower patch is close to the hive, then the bee will do a circular dance and the watching bees know that the flower patch is really close.
The bees can tell up from down inside of their hive, so bees use that to tell the direction of where the flower patch is. Up is where the sun is, and then the dancing bee waggles at an angle that is the same as the angle of the sun to the flower patch in relation to the hive.
Bees also see colors differently than humans do. Bees have trouble seeing the color red, but make it up in seeing blues and purples much better than humans do. This helps bees see the pollen in the flowers much better than humans ever could!
If you want to learn more about the honey bee click here! There are so many amazing facts about honey bees and their incredible abilities!