Farm Fact Friday: Bees

Happy Farm Fact Friday, everyone! This week, we’re talking about one of the farmer’s biggest ally’s in the field, the bee! A fun farm secret you may not know, we often keep bees on our East Austin farm! We have a small comb hidden away in the back where they sometimes make their home.

Bees feed on the nectar from flowers, where their fuzzy bodies pick up pollen, and bring it to the next plant they feed on. Some bees will even buzz rapidly to loosen the pollen on the plant it is pollinating (this is sonication or buzz pollination). This allows the plant to fertilize, where it can reproduce and create fruit and seeds. Did you know that out of all the pollinators, bees are responsible for pollinating about 75 percent of fruits and vegetables?

Different varieties of bees also have different systems of living; while you may be familiar with the honey bee’s hive building and queen, worker (female bees who are not the queen) and drone (male bees) who protect and work together to nourish their larvae, some bee species live completely differently. Many don’t build hives at all, instead laying their eggs in protected places like flower stems or tunnels, simply left with nectar and pollen for the larvae to consume and grow on their own. The cuckoo bee, for instance, will lay their eggs in the nests of other species, and potentially kill the larvae of the original nester to ensure its eggs grow well.

Bees are a crucial part of what we do, and a very varied and interesting creature! Tune in next week to learn more about how honey is harvested. 

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