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Lecture 10


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Environmental Sciences
ENVS 2210
Ernesto Guzman

ENVS*2210*DE Winter 2017 with Ernesto Guzman UNIT TEN – Other Products and Benefits From Bees Other Hive Products Beeswax: Hydrocarbon secretion of bees' abdominal glands. Used as building material in the hive (bees draw comb and cap cells). It is lighter than water (density = 0.95) with a melting point of 62° C. Beeswax is obtained by melting cappings (from honey extraction) in a mold. When the cappings cool off, the wax layer floats on the water and can be removed. The lower part contains water and honey. Beeswax is used for comb foundation, in the elaboration of candles, in cosmetics (creams, ointments, lotions and lipsticks), polishes, dental impression wax, varnishes and as insulation material in electronic products. Pollen: Male reproductive cells of flowering plants. Bees use it as a source of nutrients (proteins, lipids and vitamins) for brood rearing and to feed newly-emerged adult bees. Pollen is collected with traps placed at the bottom of hives. Pollen traps have a hardware cloth through which returning worker foragers must pass and while doing that, pollen pellets are scraped off their legs by the hardware cloth. Most bees loose their pollen pellets (70-85%). Pollen traps should only be used in strong colonies and it is recommended that its use be alternated on a biweekly schedule (two weeks with trap, two weeks without trap) during the blooming season. Pollen is collected from the trap tray (twice a week) and it is dried (by exposing the pellets to the suns' rays or in drying ovens). Pollen is used as dietary supplement (contains proteins and vitamins) for humans and animals (bee food to stimulate colony growth). Pollen for human consumption is sold bottled or encapsulated. Propolis: Sticky, resinous gum gathered by bees from trees and shrubs. It is used as sealing, caulking and preserving (antibacterial and antifungal) material in the hive. Some bee races reduce the hive entrance with propolis. Propolis varies in composition depending on the plant source (contains a mixture of resins and volatile oils with antimicrobial properties). Propolis is obtained by scraping hive parts (frames and boxes) or by using special inserts with slots or holes that mimic cracks. Inserts are made out of metal or plastic materials (mosquito nets could be used to obtain propolis). Inserts are placed between the upper super and the inner cover of a hive. Bees will fill the insert spaces with propolis. The inserts are frozen and the propolis can be easily removed from them. Propolis has been used to varnish and polish wood. In folk medicine, propolis is used to treat wounds, burns and ulcers, as well as bronchitis. In the industry, it is ENVS*2210*DE Winter 2017 with Ernesto Guzman used as an additive of toothpastes, mouthwashes, creams, etc. However, more research is still needed to demonstrate its therapeutic properties and above all, possible side effects. It is sold in capsules or diluted in ethanol as tinctures. Royal Jelly: Creamy-white, viscous secretion from the head glands of young worker bees. Nurse bees feed the queen and young larvae with royal jelly. Royal jelly contains sugars, proteins, fatty acids and vitamins (B complex and C). Colonies used to produce royal jelly are left queen-less and are frequently supplied with capped brood to maintain their strength and supply lots of young workers (royal jelly is produced by young bees). Larvae (12-36 h old) obtained from a queen-right colony are grafted and transferred into artificial queen cells that are attached to a frame. The frame containing the artificial cells (and larvae) is introduced into a queen-less colony. Three days later the larvae are discarded and the royal jelly is collected (with a spoon or a vacuum device). Each cell yields about 200 mg of royal jelly. Royal jelly is then refrigerated or frozen before preparing it for sale (it spoils at room temperature). Royal jelly is used as dietary supplement (source of vitamins and fatty acids) and can be sold in capsules (mixed with honey or lyophilized). It is also used in the cosmetics industry (in creams). However, like in the case of propolis, there is not enough scientific evidence of therapeutic effects for royal jelly, although limited studies claim antibiotic and anti-cholesterol effects. Yet, the evidence is not sufficient to market royal jelly as a medicine. Bee Venom: Bees inoculate venom when they sting intruders. Bee venom can be obtained with electrical grids sold for this purpose. After receiving an electrical shock, bees sting and release their venom, which dries out on a recipient at the bottom of the electric device from where it is scraped off. Bee venom is used to desensitize persons suffering allergic reactions to bee stings. In folk medicine, it is used to treat arthritis by directly forcing bees to sting the affected area of patients. However, arthritis treatments are not medically approved. Again, more research on its therapeutic benefits and side effects is required. Pollination of Crops Pollination: Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains (containing sperm cells) from anthers (male organs) to stigmas (female organs) of flowers in the angiosperms (flowering plants). After being deposited on the stigma of a flower, a pollen tube grows from a pollen grain and travels down the style, resulting in ENVS*2210*DE Winter 2017 with Ernesto Guzman fertilization of ovules contained in the carpel of flowers. Pollination is a necessary step in the sexual reproduction of flowering plants, resulting in the production of seeds and fruits. Types of Pollination: Self-pollination is the transfer of pollen to flowers of the same plant or to flowers in other plants of the same variety, whereas cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen to flowers of different variety (eg. apples). Honey bees are very effective cross-pollinators. Flowers can have only male or female reproductive organs (monosexual) such as cucurbits, or can have both male and female organs (hermaphrodites) such as apples, citrus, peaches and pears. Pollinating Agents: Pollination can be abiotic or biotic. Abiotic pollination is mediated by non-living means (eg. wind and water) and occurs in only 10% of flowering plants. Biotic pollination is mediated by living organisms (> 200,000 animal pollinators, mostly insects) and occurs in more than 80% of flowering plants. Vertebrates and insects are the primary pollinating agents that carry out biotic pollination. Entomophily refers to the pollination performed by insects, whereas zoophily refers to the pollination performed by vertebrate animals. Among vertebrates, birds (mainly humming birds), bats and some rodents, are important pollinators. Among insects, bees are the main pollinators, followed by flies, butterflies, moths, wasps and beetles. Flowering plants and pollinators have a long history of mutualistic relationships. Therefore, both have evolved adaptations to benefit each other, including morphological, behavioural, and phenological adaptations. Plants have evolved flowers of particular colours, with shapes that adapt to the body of specific pollinators and produce scents and rewards (pollen and nect
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