The Honeybee

The Honeybee: The Unsung Hero of Our Ecology and Agriculture

No web site about the City of Rochester Public Market would be complete without a special section on the importance of honeybees.  Just about all of the beautiful, delicious, healthy fruits and vegetables you buy at the Market wouldn't be there for you if it wasn't for the humble honeybee. And they need YOU to help them survive.

Thanks to Christy Erickson, who reached out to us to offer the below piece on the value and importance of our buzzing brethren!


Many people still do not know the true value of the bee, and are unaware of the honeybee's rock-star qualities. For many, the bee is just a summertime nuisance; little buzzing creatures existing merely to annoy and sting relentlessly. People still shoo them away with swatters, spray poisons at them and run away in fear. Nevertheless, slowly but surely, the perception of bees is starting to change. And they are finally getting the respect they so desperately need. Below are a few interesting facts about bees.


A few Interesting Facts about Bees:

1. Many Species of Bees: There are over  20,000 different species  of bees living among us, grouped into nine different families. The most popular family of bees include the honey bee, mason bee, bumble bee, solitary bee and carpenter bee.

2. Pollinating Powerhouses: Bees are the world's best pollinators! While drinking nectar, bees transfer pollen from one flower to the stigma of another. This pollination stimulates the fertility of the fower which in turn encourages the growth of crops and flowers.

3. Bees and Food Production: Bees play a major role in food production. In fact, one out of every three bites of food we eat is made possible by the bee. Without bees, there would be no more strawberries, almonds, cashews, avocados, cherries, blueberries, pears, plums, peaches, alfalfa and a whole lot more. And if there were no more bees, their absence would cost the food industry billions of dollars annually.

4. They make honey: Bees are the only insect that produces a substance consumed by man. Perhaps the most obvious fact about bees is that they make honey. After honey bees drink nectar, they store it in their “honey stomach”, chew it, transfer it from bee to bee, spit it out and dry it in honeycomb cells. It turns out that raw honey is packed with antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that can contribute to our well-being.

 5. Bees are disappearing: In recent years, the population of both domestic and wild bees has drastically declined.  Colony Collapse Disorder has beekeepers scratching their heads in dismay. Research has determined that widespread use of pesticides are largely to blame.

6. They are more than honey-makers: In addition to honey, bees also make nutritious beeswax, propolis and royal jelly. Beeswax is used as an additive in soaps and waxes, and propolis and royal jelly are available in pill-form.

 7. Bees do not discriminate: It doesn’t matter where the garden grows, if the plot contains pollinator-friendly flowers, the bees will occupy it. This means that you can create any type of garden to attract the bees. You can start a garden in your backyard, in containers on your balcony, in boxes on your windowsill or vertically on your walls.

8. Bees work hard: Bees are among the hardest working insects in the world. A single bee visits up to one hundred flowers per trip as it transfers pollen and nectar to its hive.

9. Bee talk: Honey bees talk to each other by dancing; the dance tells other bees in the colony where to find flowers and water.

10. Bees do not attack: Contrary to popular belief, bees do not naturally attack. In fact, they are quite solitary creatures, only attacking if provoked.

Now that you are know how interesting and important bees are to the environment and humans, it’s up to you to help keep them around. So, go out and plant a pollinator garden, support your local organic farmers, stop using pesticides, throw some seed bombs, plant some crops, and tell others about the value of the bee.

Author: Christy Erickson (

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