Honeybees: Why they matter and how you can help them

HENDERSON, Tenn. — Studies show one-third of the world’s food supply is dependent upon the pollination of the honeybee.

Richard Heismann, president of the Jackson Area Beekeepers Association, gave WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Amanda Gerry a behind-the-scenes look at the honeybee, the world’s most important pollinator of food crops.

“Einstein said that if we lose the honeybees, mankind will only live for five years,” Heismann said.

And studies show the honeybee population is depleting around the world.

“Through chemicals, deforestation, just everything that we are doing as humans,” Heismann said.

This is why Heismann says we should give the bees a helping hand, by either planting wildflowers in your garden or by becoming a beekeeper.

Their man-made hives hold anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 bees, and each queen can lay up to 2,000 eggs a day.

“You have the queen, and there’s only one queen per hive. You have all the workers, which are the girl bees, and then you have the drones, which are the boy bees,” Heismann said.

Heismann says these busy bees work tirelessly, making honey for their hive from the nectar of flowers.

“And then when they get back to the hive, they will regurgitate this into another bee’s mouth,” Heismann said. “And that bee will then carry it up and basically deposit it into the comb.”

Beekeepers say raw honey has an endless amount of uses and health benefits.

“In fact, it’s almost the perfect food,” Heismann said. “If you had to live on only one thing, honey would be the thing that you would want to live on.”

Heismann says when it comes to bees, many people are scared to get stung. He says bees only sting you if they think you are threatening their environment, and — a little advice — he says never swat at a bee, but blow it off of you instead.

Heismann says if you are interesting in beekeeping, the Jackson Area Beekeepers Association meets at 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at the Chamber office in Jackson.

He also says if you find a swarm on your property, contact the organization and they’ll be happy to come collect them.