Bees are vital to an apple’s ability to thrive, why? Most apples must be cross-pollinated. Which means that an apple blossom must receive the pollen from a different variety of apple in order for an apple to be produced! Bees are the best for this job because blossoms, even ones on a single tree, all open at different times. Bees are on constant duty in the orchard, seeking out the blossoms that are ready. Growers have experimented with cross-pollinating by hand, spraying pollen onto blossoms, and even using shotguns with pollen-filled cartridges. None of these ideas can replace the perfect work that bees do!
Without bees, we wouldn't have pumpkins--Without pumpkins, would we even be able to celebrate Fall?! While our standard pumpkins, like the Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and edible Pie Pumpkins, have been perfected by humans over hundreds of years, one thing has always remained the same: All pumpkin varieties need to be pollinated! In fact, there are two different genera of native squash bees who pollinate the pumpkin and squash flowers, the Peponapis and Xenoglossa. They're very hairy and slightly smaller than the honeybee, and only the female bees collect pollen. Read more about bees and pumpkins from Bee Culture to get ready for the season.
Bees love coffee almost as much as we do! Why?! Researchers at Newcastle University have found that its nectar offers our tiny friends as much caffeine as a cup of instant coffee! The caffeine perks up their memory, encouraging the bees to return to the same type of plant. Dr. Geraldine Wright, who led the study, said that “Remembering floral traits is difficult for bees as they fly from flower to flower so fast. We have found that caffeine helps the bee remember where the flowers are […] So, caffeine in nectar is likely to improve the bee’s foraging prowess while providing the plant with a more faithful pollinator.”
Bees and beer go hand in hand—Not just because bees pollinate the hops used to make beer, but studies have suggested that hops might play an important role in stopping Colony Collapse Disorder! Basically, one of the most annoying pests that spread viruses, which then encourages the use of pesticides, could be naturally repelled by the hops beta acid. We think this is pretty cool, considering we love beer and we really love bees! Check out the article for more information, and we look forward to chatting more about this over a cold beer 😉