On any given sunny afternoon in Oklahoma, it is common to see bees buzzing about from flower to flower.  They are busy bees, at their favorite pastime, collecting pollen.  Even though these large insects can sting, they seldom do.  Many people fear these gentle bugs, with little justification.  The old adage of “if you don’t mess with them, they won’t mess with you” is more truthful than most know.  But why are bees important?  Bees pollinate all the plant life around us. Without them, most plants could not reproduce and would die out.  

We need plants to live.  They provide a huge portion of our food.  Plants convert the carbon dioxide that we don’t need and exhale into the oxygen that we need to live.  Plants provide a huge amount of the food that we eat.  The byproducts of plants provide structural materials for our homes, hemp for rope, chemical products and a huge list of other necessary things that we use daily.  But without bees, plant life would cease on our planet.  


There are many organisms that pollinate plants such as hummingbirds, bats, butterflies, flies and some beetles.  But of all these pollinators, bees are the most important.  They consume pollen and nectar, so they spend all day collecting it.  Pollen is a great source of protein for them to feed budding larvae.  The adult bees will also feed on the nectar of the flower.  They find these flowers by sensing ultraviolet light.  The center of flowers actually produce less ultraviolet light than the rest of the flower, tipping off bees to where the nectar is.  

The reproductive parts of the flower are in the center of the flower.  As the bee collects nectar and pollen, some of the pollen from the stamen, or male part of the flower, sticks to the outside of the bee.  When the bee goes to the next flower, some of the pollen is rubbed off into the pistil, or female part of the flower, fertilizing the plant.  Once this happens, the plant will produce a fruit complete with seed.  


Another major byproduct of bees is their honey.  Before the wide spread availability of sugar in the 1600’s, honey was the world’s primary sweetener.  Not only did we use it, but plenty of wildlife including bears, badgers and other animals feed on its sweet goodness.  In addition to being a great food source, it also has many holistic properties.  It’s used in wound and burn treatments, allergy treatments and sore throat remedies.  If you are having issues with bees, contact an Oklahoma exterminator.  

To create honey, bees fly from flower to flower collecting nectar.  They drink the liquid and store it in a crop, or second stomach, used to transport the nectar.  Here it is mixed with enzymes that change its composition and ph, making it more storable.  Once it returns to the hive, it will regurgitate the mix into the mouth parts of another bee to repeat the process.  A few bees later, it will be placed in the honeycomb.  Then the bees will flap their wings to dry the water out of it, creating the viscous treat that we all know and love.  This is why bees are important.  


Royal jelly is a gelatinous material that bees use to feed the larvae and adult queens.  In addition to feeding worker larvae, larvae that are chosen to become future queens are placed in special queen cells that are filled with royal jelly.  The jelly initiates queen morphology, the process of becoming queen.  There are many dietary supplements that use royal jelly as an ingredient.  An Oklahoma pest control company can help you as well.  

Bees wax is a byproduct of worker bees eating honey.  The worker converts honey to wax inside glands that then ooze the wax through pours on their abdomen,  This wax shows up as flakes on their abdomen.  Other bees chew the wax until it becomes soft, and then it is used to construct honeycombs.  Bees wax is used extensively in lip balm,  polishes, paints and a number of other uses. 


When a honey bee stings you, it leaves its stinger behind in your skin.  The stinger continues to pump venom into you until it is removed.  The bee will eventually die because vital organs stay attached to the stinger.  The primary irritant in bee venom is melittin.  This substance stimulates the same nerve endings as the ones that feel as if they are burning.  This is why a bee sting gives most people a burning sensation.  

Bee venom is known as apitoxin.  This toxin breaks down the fatty layers of the cell in order to attack skin mast cells.  This venom is used to arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and many other diseases. Allergies can sometimes be treated by administering small amounts of bee venom until the body adapts to the venom.  This kind of reverse treatment is very successful in treating and curing many types of allergies.   


There are multiple diseases that effect and destroy bees.  Paralysis is a side effect of a few viruses such as the chronic bee virus and the acute bee virus.  American foul brood is a very contagious disease that effects bee larvae.  This is a spore forming bacterium, and the spores can survive for years until they are caught by a bee.  Chalkbrood is a fungal disease that also attacks larvae.  The spores are infested, and then after the larvae is sealed in its cell, the fungus bursts through the side of the abdomen and consumes the larvae.  A Tulsa exterminator can help you with that.  

Sacbrood is a viral disease that attacks larvae.  But unlike other viral diseases, this one is not so devastating.   The worker bees are quick to identify infected larvae and remove them.  Varroa mites feed on the blood of bees.  It is a world wide disease and one of the worst.  Ants, mice, skunks, bears and other animals can also attack and destroy bees and bee hives.  


This is why bees are important.  Bees are very important to our ecosystem.  But even though they are important, that doesn’t mean that they can’t find their way somewhere where they are pests.  Homes, barns and sheds are no place for these insects.  So if you are having issues with bees, contact a Tulsa pest control company.  Here at TermMax Pest Control, we are here to help!

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