Every year on May 20, the wonderful bees have their World Bee Day. But this day it’s important in order to make a better world for the bees who are under threat from human activities. The purpose of the international day of bees is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem.
The UN Member States approved Slovenia’s proposal to proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day in December 2017.
20 May coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia and praised the bees for their ability to work so hard, while needing so little attention.
The ethologist Karl von Frisch studied navigation in the honey bee. He showed that honey bees communicate by the waggle dance, in which a worker indicates the location of a food source to other workers in the hive. He demonstrated that bees can recognize a desired compass direction in three different ways: by the sun, by the polarization pattern of the blue sky, and by the earth’s magnetic field. He showed that the sun is the preferred or main compass; the other mechanisms are used under cloudy skies or inside a dark beehive. Bees navigate using spatial memory with a “rich, map-like organization”.
Most bees are polylectic (generalist) meaning they collect pollen from a range of flowering plants, but some are oligoleges (specialists), in that they only gather pollen from one or a few species or genera of closely related plants.
Humans have kept honey bee colonies, commonly in hives, for millennia. Beekeepers collect honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly from hives; bees are also kept to pollinate crops and to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers.
Depictions of humans collecting honey from wild bees date to 15,000 years ago; efforts to domesticate them are shown in Egyptian art around 4,500 years ago.
Although the honey is used in gastronomy, the products from bees are also the main ingredient for many cosmetic beauty products.