Let’s Celebrate Bees on National Honey Bee Day

Do you know how pollination works or what a honeybee looks like under a microscope? You can find out by checking into the many special events for National (and World) Honey Bee Day, which falls on August 20 this year.

For example, in Minneapolis, the Mill City Farmers Market will celebrate World Honey Bee Day at its weekly downtown market. There’ll be over 65 vendors selling farm-fresh honey, beeswax products, and locally pollinated fruits and vegetables, as well as experts educating the community about the importance of bees and other pollinators in local agriculture. 

Or you can celebrate Honey Bee Day by staying home and learning all about how amazing bees are. Did you know that:

  • On average, bees fly 13-15 miles per hour;
  • To make just one pound of honey, bees visit about 2 million flowers;
  • During honey-gathering season, there are about 40,000 to 60,000 bees in a hive;
  • Bees transfer pollen from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of the same or a different flower when they pollinate;
  • Pollination is a prerequisite for fertilization, which allows the flower to develop seeds?

The Importance of Bees

Approximately one third of the world’s fruits and veggies are pollinated by honey bees. Some fruits would not grow at all without honey bee pollinations, while others might produce less fruit, and the quality would be poor.

It’s very clear: the global production of food is very much dependent on the pollination provided by honey bees.

Now that we know how important bees are, we need to see that there is also a dark side: Bee colonies are in trouble. 

Why Are Bees Disappearing?

Over the past year, beekeepers in the U.S. have lost 44 percent of their colonies, making it the second highest annual loss in the past 10 years. The bees could have died from a number of possible reasons, including disease.

Hives stricken by colony collapse disorder (CCD), a phenomenon that occurs when a colony’s worker bees abandon the nest, leaving behind a queen, plenty of food and a few nurse bees, represent one reason for this dramatic loss, but not the only reason.

In fact, cases of CCD have declined substantially over the last five years.

Scientists say they think the losses stem from a variety of factors.

“What we think from other surveys is there are three major drivers,” said Dennis Van Engelsdorp, project director of a survey conducted by Bee Informed Partnership, a collaborative organization of honeybee researchers around the country. “Pesticides, poor nutrition and, most importantly, parasites.”

Whether any particular regions or types of beekeeping are more affected than others, and which are the major causes of death, will be examined in depth by the Partnership over the next few months.

Meanwhile, we all need to gain a greater understanding of the importance of the tiny honey bee to our survival and to realize, as VanEngelsdorp notes, that “One in every three bites we eat is directly or indirectly pollinated by bees. Without honeybees we would not be able to produce apples and almonds and a lot of other berries and fruits, so it’s really important to understand the drivers of these losses.”

Take Action

One certain cause in the decline of the honey bee is the use of deadly neonicotinoid pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has acknowledged that these pesticides to be toxic to bees, but has so far refused to take any action to get rid of them.

If you agree that the EPA should take a stand against these pesticides, please celebrate this Honey Bee Day by taking action and signing the Care2 petition, urging the EPA to ban the production and use of neonicotinoid pesticides before the U.S. bee population vanishes for good.

Honey bees are super-important and need to be honored and celebrated all year long.

 

Photo Credit: thinkstock

69 comments

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

I saw more bees this year than I have in years.

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Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer2 years ago

thank you for sharing

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Patricia H.
Patricia Harris2 years ago

monica shepherd, I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you'll see them soon.

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monica shepherd
monica shepherd2 years ago

Sadly this year I have not seen a single bee.

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Randy Q.
Past Member 2 years ago

"Let's Celebrate Bees on National Honey Bee Day"

YES! Thank you to our dear Bee Friends!

And Everyday Can Be National Honey Bee Day, If We Want It To Be!

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Muff-Anne York-Haley

I love bees, petition signed!

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Peggy B.
Peggy B2 years ago

SIGNED

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Larry McDaniel
Larry McDaniel2 years ago

Thanks.

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