Give thanks to the bee

Nov 24, 2009
Give thanks to the bee
Bees pollinate pomegranates and many foods people eat on Thanksgiving and other days.

(PhysOrg.com) -- When we sit down to give thanks at the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, we should also be thanking the honey bee.

"A substantial portion of the meal is pollinated by the honey bee," said Extension Apiculturist Eric Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty and a noted authority on honey bees.

If your meal includes cranberries, squash, pumpkins, carrots, cucumbers (and pickles) onions, grapefruit, oranges, apples, pears, cherries, blueberries, sunflowers and almonds, thank the honey bee, said Mussen and bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, manager of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.

Cobey said almonds often garnish parts of the meal, such as slivered almonds on a green bean casserole or toasted almonds on a salad or dessert.

Almonds and macadamia nuts are the key nuts pollinated by bees.

Cole crops, such as cabbage, Brussel sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi, spinach, chard and broccoli are also pollinated by bees.

And the turkey? No, unless the turkey dined solely on sunflower seeds. Turkeys are usually fed a variety of grains. Bees do, however, visit the plants that eventually comprise our spices, such as sage, basil and oregano.

Even milk and ice cream are linked closely to the honey bee. Cows feed on alfalfa, which is pollinated by honey bees (along with other bees). Ice cream ingredients usually include fruits and nuts, other bee favorites.

Vegetarians can also be thankful. Bees visit soybeans (made into tofu for tofu turkey and other meatless dishes). "And bees can make a honey crop foraging on lima beans," Mussen said.

The ever-popular fruit salad includes such bee favorites as blueberries, apples, oranges and pomegranates.

And don't forget the honey: honey-glazed carrots, honey rolls and honey-baked ham.

Soon to be favorites of honey bees and visitors alike are the newly planted half-acre Häagen-Dazs Haven and the quarter-acre Campus Buzzway, filled with wildflowers. Both will be year-around food sources for honey bees and educational experiences for visitors. The gardens are located on Bee Biology Road, next to the Laidlaw facility, on the western edge of the UC Davis campus.

Provided by UC Davis (news : web)

Explore further: Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Building Better Bees

Oct 21, 2008

A UC Davis researcher known for her honey bee line "New World Carniolans" has crossed her bees with their Old World counterparts to enhance their positive characteristics.

Bee species outnumber mammals and birds combined

Jun 11, 2008

Scientists have discovered that there are more bee species than previously thought. In the first global accounting of bee species in over a hundred years, John S. Ascher, a research scientist in the Division of Invertebrate ...

Honey bee chemoreceptors found for smell and taste

Oct 25, 2006

Honey bees have a much better sense of smell than fruit flies or mosquitoes, but a much worse sense of taste, according to researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Power lines may become honey bee homes

Dec 15, 2005

A scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City is proposing a novel solution to the dwindling number of U.S. honey bees.

Wild bees make honey bees better pollinators

Aug 29, 2006

When honey bees interact with wild native bees, they are up to five times more efficient in pollinating sunflowers than when native bees are not present, according to a new study by a pair of researchers at ...

Recommended for you

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

20 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Orchid named after UC Riverside researcher

Apr 17, 2014

One day about eight years ago, Katia Silvera, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Riverside, and her father were on a field trip in a mountainous area in central Panama when they stumbled ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

Fear of the cuckoo mafia

Apr 17, 2014

If a restaurant owner fails to pay the protection money demanded of him, he can expect his premises to be trashed. Warnings like these are seldom required, however, as fear of the consequences is enough to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Researchers develop new model of cellular movement

(Phys.org) —Cell movement plays an important role in a host of biological functions from embryonic development to repairing wounded tissue. It also enables cancer cells to break free from their sites of ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...