The Honey Bee Apis mellifera: An Insect at the Interface between Human and Ecosystem Health

Giulia Papa, Roberto Giorgio Maier, Alessandra Durazzo, Massimo Lucarini, Ioannis K. Karabagias, Manuela Plutino, Elisa Bianchetto, Rita Aromolo, Giuseppe Pignatti, Andrea Ambrogio, Marco Pellecchia, Ilaria Negri*

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


The concept of ecosystem services is widely understood as the services and benefits thatecosystems provide to humans, and they have been categorised into provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services. This article aims to provide an updated overview of the benefits that the honey bee Apis mellifera provides to humans as well as ecosystems. We revised the role of honey bees as pollinators in natural ecosystems to preserve and restore the local biodiversity of wild plants; in agro-ecosystems, this species is widely used to enhance crop yield and quality, meeting the increasing food demand. Beekeeping activity provides humans not only with high-quality food but also with substances used as raw materials and in pharmaceuticals, and in polluted areas, bees convey valuable information on the environmental presence of pollutants and their impact on human and ecosystem health. Finally, the role of the honey bee in symbolic tradition, mysticism, and the cultural values of the bee habitats are also presented. Overall, we suggest that the symbolic value of the honey bee is the most important role played by this insect species, as it may help revitalise and strengthen the intimate and reciprocal relationship between humans and the natural world, avoiding the inaccuracy of considering the ecosystems as mere providers of services to humans.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Agro-ecosystems
  • Apis mellifera
  • Bee products
  • Biodiversity
  • Cultural services
  • Ecosystem services
  • Honey bee
  • Provisioning services
  • Regulating services


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