World Honey Bee Day
As a site where the users refer to themselves as Bees I believe it appropriate that we should align ourselves with efforts to protect the bee populations of the world. An environmental scientist by education I try to stay apprised of environmental issues. None has me more concerned than the decrease of bee populations across the world.
Our lives are dependent upon these little creatures for not only our food but the aesthetic pleasure we experience from our gardens and natural areas. The cause of Colony Collapse Disorder is still heavily debated but all signs seem to point to chemicals. Most articles mention pesticides but our bees are exposed to numerous chemicals that could be affecting the populations, including; herbicides and polluting emissions.
In my humble opinion; scientist will eventually realize there is no single contributing factor but may come to realize it is a combination of environmental pollutants.
In honor of World Honey Bee Day I thought I would share some information from some organizations I follow;
Bees and other pollinators are dying at alarming rates!
Honeybees pollinate many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables we love. But beekeepers like me keep discovering our honeybees — whole hives of them — gone or dead.
Just in the last year, the United States lost 44% of honey bee colonies — a significant jump from the year before.
We can’t let dangerous pesticides continue to devastate bee populations for another year.
Luckily, there is hope. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon has drafted a new bill that will help decrease bee-killing pesticide use and increase pollinator habitat.
The bill doesn’t only take steps to end the die-offs. It goes on the offensive for the bees:
- It will give farmers incentives for reducing the use of bee killing pesticides and increase more ecologically friendly ways to control weeds and pests.
- It will help farmers develop planting strategies that benefit pollinators and the crops they pollinate.
- It will require federal agencies to expand habitat that benefits pollinators by 3 million acres!
Basically, the bill is a huge win for both bees and farmers. That’s something your Senators should be able to get behind — even in this politically charged time.
There is not a moment to lose.
To ensure the bill passes, Senator Merkley needs co-sponsors before introducing the bill on the floor of the Senate. That could happen in just a couple of weeks when the Senate is back from its August recess.
Bees need our support right now to give this bill a chance at succeeding from the outset.
Our movement to protect the bees has already accomplished so much.
Hundreds of thousands of people are challenging bee killing pesticides — like neonicotinoids — in the EPA. In March, the state of Maryland banned the consumer use of neonicotinoids. And the entire country of France is banning all use of neonicotinoids!
And saving the bees is just one part of the growing movement to fix our broken food system.
Together we can ensure the food we eat everyday is not grown with dangerous pesticides and instead works for farmers, eaters (that’s YOU!), and bees.
Thanks for all you do,
Research Director and Beekeeper, Greenpeace USA
American Bee Journal
- The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.
- A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour, hence it would have to fly around 90,000 miles -three times around the globe – to make one pound of honey.
- It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.
- Honey is 80% sugars and 20% water.
- Honey bees produce beeswax from eight paired glands on the underside of their abdomen.
- Honey bees must consume about 17-20 pounds of honey to be able to biochemically produce each pound of beeswax.
- Bees maintain a temperature of 92-93 degrees Fahrenheit in their central brood nest regardless of whether the outside temperature is 110 or -40 degrees.
- A populous colony may contain 40,000 to 60,000 bees during the late spring or early summer.
- The queen bee lives for about 2-3 years. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength, and lays up to 2500 eggs a day.
- The queen may mate with up to 17 drones over a 1-2 day period of mating.
- The queen may lay 600-800 or even 1,500 eggs each day during her 3 or 4 year lifetime. This daily egg production may equal her own weight. She is constantly fed and groomed by attendant worker bees
- Worker honey bees live for about 4 weeks in the spring or summer but up to 6 months during the winter.
- The average honey bee will actually make only one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.
- The Honey bee’s wings stroke 11,400 times per minute, thus making their distinctive buzz.
- A honey bee visits 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
- Honey bees, scientifically also known as Apis Mellifera, are environmentally friendly and are vital as pollinators
- Fermented honey, known as Mead, is the most ancient fermented beverage. The term “honey moon” originated with the Norse practice of consuming large quantities of Mead during the first month of a marriage.
"Bring Back the Bees" video - General Mills - Canada -
pdated due to link being broken!
- Plant wildflowers in your yard! Give your local bees a source of pollen. Check with your local Extension Service to find NATIVE flowers. Remember bees are adapted to their local environments; so give them local fare so they remain healthy.
- If you use must use pesticides; go organic - do some research and determine what may serve your purposes and not be harmful to beneficial insects.
- Remember; it may be a combination of pollutants; reconsider insect repellent sprays; Look to the Horticulture Hive for natural alternatives! Lemon Balm leaves and a recipe provided in the hive using fresh Rosemary. (if you can't find it, ask Andrew the owner of the Hive)
- Ask your local grocer or vegetable provider if the pesticides known to be harmful to bees are used by their suppliers. Bring attention to the issue.
Humanity needs the Bees more than they need us; in fact they don't need us at all!
An Excellent Overview