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Nature and Philately: Bees on Stamps (And 10 Interesting Bee Facts) – Part 2

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Author: Emil Drkusic
Date: 04/01/2023

We’ve seen 5/10 interesting bee facts in Part 1 of this article. Today we’ll see the remaining 5 interesting facts and also a few more stamps related to bees.

Bee Anatomy

Bee body is divided into three main parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The head is where the bee's eyes, antennae, and mouth are located. The antennae are used for sensing their environment, including the presence of other bees and flowers. Bees use the mouth for eating and collecting nectar, which the bee converts into honey through a process of regurgitation and evaporation.

The thorax is the middle part of the bee's body and is where the wings and legs are attached. Bees have four wings, which they use to fly at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. They also have three pairs of legs, which they use for walking and grooming. The legs are also equipped with pollen baskets, which the bees use to collect and transport pollen back to the hive.

Bees on stamps - Switzerland

Switzerland - 2011

The abdomen is the rear part of the bee's body and is where the reproductive organs are located. Male bees, or drones, do not have stingers and do not participate in the collection of pollen. Female bees, or workers, have a stinger, which they use for defense. However, the stinger is a one-use-only structure and falls off after it has been used, leading to the death of the bee.

In addition to these main body parts, bees also have a number of internal organs that perform various functions. These include the digestive system, which processes the nectar that the bees collect, and the respiratory system, which allows the bees to breathe.

Bee Orientation

Bees are highly organized insects that are known for their ability to navigate and orient themselves in their environment. When foraging for pollen and nectar, bees are able to locate and return to their hive with great accuracy, even over long distances.

One of the key ways that bees orient themselves is through the use of landmarks. When a bee leaves the hive to forage, it will memorize the location of the hive relative to nearby landmarks such as trees or buildings. When the bee is ready to return, it will fly towards these landmarks and use them to navigate back to the hive.

Bees on stamps - Australia

Australia - 2019

In addition to landmarks, bees also use their sense of smell to orient themselves. They are able to detect and follow the scent of flowers, which helps them locate sources of pollen and nectar. Bees also use their sense of taste to identify the quality of nectar, which can help them determine the most efficient routes to and from the hive.

Bees also have a keen sense of direction, and are able to fly in a straight line even over long distance. They use the sun as a reference point to help them maintain their course, and are able to compensate for the movement of the sun as it crosses the sky.

Bees on stamps - Israel

Israel - 2019

Finally, bees are able to communicate with each other through a complex system of dances and pheromones. When a foraging bee returns to the hive, it will perform a dance that communicates the location and quality of the nectar source to the other bees. This helps the hive as a whole to optimize its foraging efforts and improve the efficiency of the hive.

Bee Dance

One of the most fascinating behaviors of bees is the "bee dance", which they use to communicate the location and quality of food sources to the other members of the hive. There are several common bee dances, but two of them are maybe the most important: the round dance and the waggle dance.

The round dance is a circular dance that is performed inside the hive. It is used to communicate the location of food sources that are relatively close to the hive, typically within a few hundred meters. The duration of the dance and the speed at which it is performed can indicate the distance and the quality of the food source.

Bees on stamps - UK

UK - 2015

The waggle dance is a more complex dance that is used to communicate the location of more distant food sources. It consists of a figure-eight pattern in which the bee waggles its body back and forth while moving in a straight line. The direction of the straight line relative to the vertical axis of the hive indicates the direction of the food source relative to the sun. The duration of the waggle and the number of circuits around the figure-eight pattern can indicate the distance of the food source.

Bees are able to communicate the location of food sources with great accuracy using these dances, which helps the hive to optimize its foraging efforts and improve the efficiency of the hive.

How Can We Help Bees?

Bees are some of the most important insects on the planet, as they play a vital role in pollinating flowers and crops. However, bees are facing a number of challenges, including habitat loss, disease, and the use of pesticides. As a result, it is important that we take steps to help protect and support bees.

One of the most effective ways to help bees is to provide them with a suitable habitat. This can be as simple as planting a variety of flowers in your garden that bloom at different times of the year. Bees are attracted to a wide range of flowers, including clovers, lavender, and sunflowers. You can also provide a water source, such as a shallow dish filled with water and pebbles, to help keep bees hydrated.

Bees on stamps - Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina - 2022

Another way to help bees is to reduce the use of pesticides in your garden. Pesticides can be harmful to bees, and even small amounts can have a significant impact on their health. Instead of using pesticides, try using natural methods of pest control, such as introducing predators or removing infected plants.

You can also support bees by supporting organizations that work to protect and conserve bees. This can include organizations that work to protect wild bee populations, as well as organizations that promote sustainable beekeeping practices.

Finally, you can help raise awareness about the importance of bees and the challenges they are facing. This can include sharing information about bees with your friends and family, or supporting campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of bees and the steps we can take to help protect them.

Bee “relatives”

Even by their look we can say that some animals are close relatives. These would be: wasps, paper wasps, hornets, hover flies, bee flies, yellowjackets, and hummingbird moths, and all of them play a role similar to bees.

Bees on stamps - Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein - 2022

Besides them, there are a number of other animals that play roles similar to bees in pollinating plants. Some examples include:

  • Hummingbirds
  • Butterflies
  • Moths
  • Bats
  • Beetles
  • Flies

Overall, there are many different animals that play roles similar to bees in pollinating plants, and each of these animals plays a vital role in the health and functioning of ecosystems around the world.

After this 2-part article we can only conclude the following: Bees are important because they play a vital role in pollinating flowers and crops, which is essential for the health and functioning of ecosystems around the world. Without bees, many plants would be unable to reproduce and could eventually go extinct, leading to a cascade of impacts on other species, including humans, that rely on those plants for food and habitat.

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