Welcome to Happy Willow Woods, where animals of all shapes and sizes live in harmony. Today we will check in on a beautiful little hive that houses a colony of busy bees. Let’s try and not to disturb the perfect balance of these social creatures.
A honey bee colony typically consists of three kinds of adult bees: workers, drones, and a queen. Each member has an essential role in keeping the hive healthy, and individual bees cannot survive without the support of the colony.
A worker bee’s job is to collect nectar and spread pollen. To find food, she needs to travel a couple of miles from her home to scout out plants. Honey bees see the world in ultraviolet and are attracted to flowers that are big, bright, colorful, and sweet-smelling. Let’s follow a couple of honey bees as they find pollen and nectar.
Watch the bees collecting as much nectar as they can and flying back to the hive. When bees find nectar, they communicate with the other bees in the colony by doing a waggle dance. Communication like this tells all the other bees where the flowers are. If the flowers are found to the left of the sun, the honey bee waggles to the left. If the flowers are located to the right of the sun, the honey bee waggles to the right.
The decline of the honey bee is due to industrial agriculture, parasites/pathogens, and climate change. The loss of habitat and lack of nectar due to monocultures that lack plant diversity and bee-killing pesticides are threats for honey bees and wild pollinators. If the honey bees do not have a healthy habitat to collect nectar and spread pollen, our food supply would be less varied and less available.
Honey bees might be small but are very special and important to humankind, and it is up to you to keep honey bees like those in the Happy Willow Woods healthy, happy, and alive. Start by planting a bee-friendly garden for pollinators or create a solitary beehive. If we take small steps like these, honey bees and other pollinators will be around for generations to come.