We had an opportunity to speak at the MSC on the Texas A&M campus to talk about honey bees and how they influence the world. This included an overview of trade, bees around the world, pollination, and why bees are so important.
Honey bees have been a part of civilization for 10,000 years – started with collecting honey from wild hives to beginning to keep bees for honey and wax collection. Beekeeping has grown as an industry in today’s culture by providing the key service of pollination to farmers. This act of pollinating requires moving hives into monocultural areas that bees do not otherwise frequent. Since bees need food supplies throughout the year – monoculture is not an ideal environment for them to thrive naturally. Beekeepers bring bees into the crop areas when food is available (during the bloom) and then take them back to areas where they can continue to forage throughout the year. This act of moving bees in and out of crop land is a way beekeepers can chase the bloom in a time when forage is dwindling.
Not only are bees necessary for promoting higher crop yields, but they are fascinating creatures that have encouraged people to continue to study and protect them throughout history. Honey bees are a highly monitored species and scientists and entomologists study the effects of pesticides, loss of habitat, and quality of genetic diversity for this species. Their ability to create an efficient home and their social behaviors have made them a source for inspiration as well. We like to believe this is part of why bees get so much attention today – they deserve it! They’re fascinating little creatures.
We talked about how bees are kept throughout the world and why beekeeping is such a well respected and necessary practice. We talked about the challenges bees face in today’s climate and what we can all do to help.
The students put on a great event with t-shirts, Texas friendly seed packets, informational statistics about honey bees, and friendly students who genuinely cared about getting the message across. We were so impressed and excited to be there.
Our discussions with the students at Texas A&M were followed up by thoughtful questions and a great reception for a bee themed exhibit in the Memorial Student Center. We felt lucky to be a part of such a well attended and great event – any opportunity to teach about bees is a pleasure.