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  • Alex Gerlach

What’s All The Buzz About? National Honey Bee Awareness Day

Updated: Jun 19, 2022

Happy National Honey Bee Awareness Day! At Pedacitos Blog, we understand the important role that the environment and wildlife play in our lives and cultures. This means that preserving the world’s cultures, and their continued evolution is tied to protecting our planet against climate disasters.

Though small, the honey bee is vital to our world's ecosystem
Though small, the honey bee is vital to our world's ecosystem

I thought about how I wanted to start this. Normally, I would go right into the history behind this awareness and why it’s important to recognize it. But I was driving back from my kickboxing class this morning and suddenly became very aware of the world around me.


I started thinking about how the image of the globe, the idea of the “world” has struck a serious chord in me all my life. I think about our earth and how small we think our individual impact is, but there are many other things on this planet that are also small but so important to our ecosystem. Well, like honey bees.

Honey bee populations are dwindling at an astonishing rate
Honey bee populations are dwindling at an astonishing rate

In 2009, a small group of beekeepers in Los Angeles petitioned for a day dedicated to protecting and raising awareness about honey bees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted HoneyLove’s request and National Honey Bee Day became federally recognized.


According to the proclamation officially signed August 21, 2010, National Honey Bee Day would be observed every 3rd Saturday of August. The document recognizes the significant role of honey bees in agriculture, the economy, and the food system.


The Importance of Saving the Bees


Honey bees play several crucial roles in our ecosystems that have a direct impact on people. Without them, we lose the plants that rely on bees for pollination, which includes most of the produce we eat. Some examples include coffee, avocados, lemons, and oranges.


But saving the bees would prevent a host of other issues and possible disasters. Less pollination means less production, which would make most of what we produce unsustainable and extremely expensive.


In fact, “honeybees are worth more than $18 billion to the U.S. economy every single year primarily because of their pollination services.”


Dropping honey bee populations or extinction would also impact food sources for other animal species. This can result in hundreds of other species dying, which completely disrupts the natural food systems in our ecosystem.

Honey bees are worth more than $18 billion to the U.S. economy, annually
Honey bees are worth more than $18 billion to the U.S. economy, annually

Current Threats To Honey Bees

The falling honey bee population is attributed to three main factors referred to as the three P’s: pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition. Over the years, organizations, enthusiasts, and scientists have reported multiple cases of colony collapse disorder, which revealed the growing issue of overall honey bee health around the world.


Pesticides can harm honey bees both directly and indirectly. While exposure to some chemicals can kill them, some pesticides are absorbed by the plant. When the honey bee collects the pollen or nectar, it passes that chemical to its colony.


Sometimes, honey bee colonies come under the threat of viruses and parasites. One particular threat is an external parasitic mite called “Varroa destructor.” These parasites attach to bees’ bodies and use special digestive enzymes to break them down and eat them. They are considered the most devastating threat to western honey bee populations.

Honey bee colonies are under threat due to viruses, parasites, and climate change
Honey bee colonies are under threat due to viruses, parasites, and climate change

How to Help Save the Bees

As individuals that come together, we have the power to make significant changes that can allow us to live more harmoniously with the world around us and improve our quality of life. And getting involved doesn’t mean you have to be a beekeeper, there are plenty of other ways to create a more bee-friendly environment.


Plant A Bee Garden

One of the biggest threats to bees is poor nutrition and access to nectar and pollen. By including some honey bee favorites, like meadow flowers, lilacs, carnations, lilies, and so many more.


This makes it easier for colonies to find safe and nutritious food sources.

Add more trees to your property – Honey bees actually get a majority of nectar from trees, but they also help provide nesting materials and shelters. Popular options include maple, chestnut, and fruit trees.


Set Up A Bee Bath

Bees are hard at work all day gathering nectar and pollinating plants. In extreme heat, they can tire easily and can benefit from a quick drink and cool down in a birdbath or shallow pool.


Go Chemical-Free

Honey bees can carry harmful chemicals back to their colonies, which affects the health of the whole family. Try relying on safer, more natural options for pest control.


Saving honey bees is a global movement and data helps us better understand the current threat and what we can do to stop it. Reporting information and pictures about native honey bees helps us identify opportunities to help them!

Saving honey bees is a global movement
Saving honey bees is a global movement

Not everyone has the land or space for creating bee gardens or planting trees, but you can still get involved. Organizations like HoneyLove, the American Beekeeping Federation, The Bee Conservancy, and more, are always looking for donations and volunteers to help save the bees.


At Pedacitos Traveler Community, we believe we have the power to accomplish greatness when we do it together. We encourage you to spread the word about honey bees; because saving the bees helps us protect our planet.


Resources:

 

Want to know more? Are you interested in becoming a contributor for Pedacitos? We'd love to hear your stories! Send me a message and I will get back to you!

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