Word of the Week
Melittology (mel-it-ol-uh-jee): The scientific study of bees! No surprise here, but it comes from Greek. Melitta meaning "bees" and logia meaning "the subject of the study."
May 20th is World Bee Day! The perfect time to show a little appreciation for the insect we often take for gratned. What makes bees so special? Well, for starters they are the only insects that produce honey. Yum! Bees also help plants grow through pollination. And because they help plants grow, they are basically responsible for feeding us too! Without them, all those nuts, fruits, and vegetables we enjoy wouldn't exist.
Here are a few more fun facts for you!
Bees have two stomachs- one for eating and one for storing nectar.
A group of bees is called a swarm.
Bees only sting when they feel threatened.
They are the only insect in the world that makes food for humans.
They flap their wings up to 200 times per second, which is why they make that buzzz sound.
They get thirsty and need to drink water. . .just like we do!
Yup! Bees need water. . .
They use water like air conditioning. On hot days, they spread a thin film of water over the baby bee cells. As the water evaporates, it cools the hive!
Nurse bees feed the larvae (developing baby bees) a diet of pollen, nectar, royal jelly, and water.
Did you know bees eat their own honey? When the honey begins to get too thick and crystalize, they use water to thin it back down to a drinkable consistency.
You're probably thinking. . .Well, that's pretty interesting, but don't they just find their own water?
You bet. But sometimes they have difficulty finding safe drinking water. If they are near a river or pond they're all set, but a swimming pool or ditch may contain harmful chemicals that would kill these already endangered beauties.
So, what can we do? Simple. Set up a bee watering station near your flower or vegetable garden. Just remember a few key facts before getting started.
Bees can't swim. You need to provide shallow water and something for them to rest on. Stones, twigs, or corks work well.
Even though bees have five eyes, they still rely mainly on scent. To help them locate your water station, try adding a small plant. A tiny amount of salt or lemongrass oil can also do the trick.
Once they've discovered your station, you don't need to worry about adding a scent.
Here are a few ideas for you to try.
A saucer from a plant pot that you add a few marbles to.
A bird bath. Just add a little scent and a little something for them to rest on.
A chicken feeder! You can fill it up with your scented water, add stones to get the right water level, and you won't need to worry about adding water every day.
Here's mine! I used a pretty tea cup. The possibilities really are endless! The corks give the bees a place to land, keeping their bodies dry and allowing them to drink and hydrate! Pretty and neat! If it were a little sunnier, maybe a bee would have stopped by for a drink.
I can't wait to see all the creations you come up with! Now, I hope that instead of being scared of bees when you see them, you stay calm and appreciate all their hard work. They truly are amazing and underappreciated creatures.
Until next time. . .