Three pounds worth of honey bees — that’s more than 10,000 of them — were recently released into a bee hive on the south side of the Lorain County JVS campus.
McKenna Weinstein and Michael Cool, both seniors from Amherst, dressed in beekeeper attire and placed the bees and their queen into the hive.
There are three types of honey bees: workers, drones, and the queen.
Worker bees, the females, collect pollen and nectar from flowers and plants and carry it to the hive. The nectar, while inside the bees, mixes with enzymes and proteins and converts the nectar into honey, which is stored in the hive.
Honey bees are one of the most important parts of the ecosystem. They are responsible for about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide.
A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day, according to Greenpeace. Seventy of the top 100 human food crops are pollinated by bees.
That means the little black-and-yellow insects are crucial to about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition. You have bees to thank for every one in three bites of food you eat.
But scientists in recent years have noted huge bee population declines due to drought, habitat destruction, air pollution, climate change, and other factors.
Honey bees declined by nearly a third between 1947 and 2008, according to researchers from Pennsylvania State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Florida Department of Agriculture. The winter of 2007-2008 was especially devastating as colony collapse disorder destroyed more than a third of American bee colonies surveyed.
The JVS-based bees will be busy this spring and summer as they reproduce, work, and gather nectar.
As the fall season rolls around, the honey will be ready to harvest, and the students will prepare it to sell to the community.
A portion of the bees were purchased via a grant through the Tractor Supply Company and the National FFA Foundation.