WAPWALLOPEN, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Bees are often thought of for their honey but they play a crucial role in pollination.

Though many of us cringe at the word pollen, it’s vital to bee colonies everywhere and helps keep food on our table.

“One bee can’t survive on its own. They work as a family. If we as people could work that way, we’d be great,” stated Harold Keiner, beekeeper at Keiner’s Apiary.

Keiner has been a beekeeper for over 10 years, a hobby taking care of insects that many of us take for granted.

“The bees pollinate 75% of the food that we eat. All pollinators cover probably 85% of the flowering plants and trees,” explained Keiner.

He maintains a couple of dozen hives each with its own queen.

“In this hive right now, probably 20,000,” said Keiner.

Regardless of what they grow up to be, they all start the same way

“It’s in the puppae stage. You can see its legs forming. In purple-eyed the next stage is they begin to grow wings and their skin hardens,” explained Keiner.

Most are worker bees they’re responsible for pollen collection hive defense and even temperature control.

“Well see they’re keeping this warm, they vibrate their wing muscles and create heat. Kind of like when we shiver to create heat to warm ourselves up, that’s what they do with their wing muscles,” stated Keiner.

Of course, they’re also vital to pollen collection and the creation of the next generation.

“The nectar they bring back and the honey of course is their carbohydrates. The pollen they bring in is their protein,” explained Keiner.

When it comes to bees and honey Harold says the best way to learn is to ask questions and keep up with the buzz of other beekeepers.

“A lot of it is experienced, but I’ve been talking to guys that have been keeping bees for many years. You never learn everything.”

Wednesday reporter Thomas Battle will show us some of the other types of bees that play a role in keeping the colony alive.