Bees Help Us
Everyone knows that humans depend on bees for honey and for pollinating our crops, but bees help us in more ways that you might not know about.
After honey and pollination, the first thing many people think of when they think of bees is their sting. Unpleasant for both the person and the bee (who dies after losing her stinger), certainly, but bee stings have some benefits, as well. Some studies have found that bee venom can help with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis by increasing the body’s natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Other research suggests that a specific toxin, mellitin, can kill HIV while leaving other cells unaffected, opening new paths for treatment and prevention.
Bees’ hives may also offer new medicinal possibilities. Bees build their hives using a resin called propolis as a sort of glue. Scientists have found that propolis helps to relieve a number of human ailments including cold sores, eczema, sore throat, and even cavities.
Understanding bee behavior helps humans fight crime, believe it or not. Bees forage for pollen near the hive, but not so close that predators might find their home. Serial killers work in much the same way, committing crimes close to home, but not so close that the neighbors suspect anything. Algorithms derived from bees help to improve computer models used to find killers.