Today marks National Honey Bee Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness for bees, to celebrate their contributions, and to recognize the hard work of beekeepers. In 2009, beekeepers created the event to spread awareness about the bee industry.
Bees serve a critical role for our society, from environmental to agricultural to economic benefits. Honeybees are the primary pollinators for agriculture. They assist in plant growth by serving as pollinators for flowers, fruits, nuts, and vegetables including avocados, onions, apples, oranges, blueberries, and carrots. This pollination process is essential in order for plants to reproduce and create enough food yields.
Bees perform approximately 80 percent of pollination throughout the world. And one colony of bees has the ability to pollinate 300 million flowers daily! Bees colonies can travel where pollination is needed, can concentrate on specific species of flowers (which allows for better pollination), and can find the best sources of nectar near their colonies in help in the pollination process.
There are around 25,000 different types of bee species throughout the world and 4,000 different species in the United States alone. Within the 25,000 types of species, there are more than 4,000 genera of bees, which belong to nine different types of families. Honeybees belong to the Apidae family in particular.
Colony Collapse Disorder
In 2006, beekeepers first called attention to the mass disappearance of bees, which is titled the Colony Collapse Disorder. It has been reported that the population of bees hives has reached its lowest number in 50 years. In Colony Collapse Disorder, the majority of adult honeybees disappear from the hives together, leaving the queen and younger bees behind in the hives. Scientists have found multiple factors potentially creating this complex disorder including parasites and pathogens causing diseases, inadequate nutrition, loss of habitat, and exposure to harmful pesticides in the environment.
How We Can All Help
What can we do to help save the incredible bee population? Keep reading for a few ideas on how we can all get involved!
- Volunteer to plant a bee garden your community, or plant a bee-friendly garden by your home.
- Take care of the trees within your community. Trees are a beneficial habitat and food source for bees.
- Purchase locally made honey.
- Learn how to start your own honeybee hive!
- Avoid using pesticides and chemicals in your garden and lawn.
- Connect with your local beekeepers and find out how you can help them and their work.
To learn more about the hard work and contributions of the bee population and the beekeepers in our communities, please visit the sites below.
If you have other ideas on how to help the bee population, let us know in the comments below!
Honey Love – National Honey Bee Day
Green Peace – Save the Bees
The Nature Conservancy – Journey with Nature
Natural Resources Defense Council – Bees
One Green Planet – Why Bees are Important to Our Planet
National Pesticide Information Center – Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
Honeybee Conservancy – How to Save the Bees: 10 Things You Can Do