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Celebrate National Honey Bee Day

POSTED UNDER Home & Garden

What’s All the Buzz About?

National Honey Bee Day takes place on Saturday, Aug. 19. Local beekeepers, bee organizations and environmental groups create a buzz by hosting educational events and activities across the country.

Although it hosts events and outreach programs throughout the year, the day's nonprofit administrator, Pennsylvania Apiculture Inc., says it has three primary goals:
1) Promote and advance beekeeping
2) Educate the public about honey bees and beekeeping
3) Make the public aware of environmental concerns affecting honey bees

Why Do We Need to Save Bees?

Bees provide us with beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, apitherapy (the use of bee products as medicine), not to mention the "greenest" sweetener you can buy – honey! Perhaps most importantly, they play a major role in agriculture. According to an article published at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, one in every three bites of food eaten worldwide depends on pollinators, especially bees, for a successful harvest. The National Honey Bee Day administrator agrees. It estimates that one-third of all fruits and vegetables, including apples, strawberries, tomatoes and almonds, are pollinated by honey bees.

Bees also make important contributions to our ecosystem. They are one of a few “indicator species,” which means that scientists can use the health of bees to measure the health of the environment (neither of which are doing well right now.)

What’s Happening to the Bees?

In recent years, bees have begun dying in increasing numbers, and no one really knows why. Their mysterious cause of death has been attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that when a colony experiences CCD, worker bees abandon their hive, leaving behind their queen with a few nurse bees and the young bees. Scientists believe that increases in CCD are caused by a combination of pests, pathogens, viruses, poor nutrition, bad bee-management practices and a lack of genetic diversity. Much of this can be attributed to the interstate transport of bees and commercial greenhouse pollination.

Acute pesticide poisoning is another reason bees are disappearing. Pesticides can harm bees, even in small amounts. The EPA recommends reducing the use of pesticide and checking pesticide labels – it's another good reason to go organic. The EPA requires instructions for protecting bees to appear on labels for products that are particularly harmful to them.

It is vital to protect and save our honey bees. Without them, we could lose a majority of our plants, produce, and animals that depend on food sources pollinated by honey bees. Plus, the world would be a lot less sweet without honey.

What Can You Do?

Here are some ideas to help protect honey bees year-round and to celebrate National Honey Bee Day:

  • Consider the chemicals you use in your home, and use the most-natural products possible.
  • Skip chemical pesticides if you can. If you do use pesticides, read the label for special instructions to help protect bees.
  • Plant a pollinator-friendly garden with nectar-producing flowers.
  • Whenever possible, buy local, organic foods that don’t use pesticides.
  • Support local beekeepers; buy honey and products from them.
  • Spread the word to community officials, and ask for help to protect bees near you.
  • Try beekeeping as a hobby.
  • Keep learning and attend local events.

Speaking of learning, Macy’s, Inc. Associates in Mason, Ohio, have been invited to attend a Honey Bee Day Lunch ‘n’ Learn hosted by Macy’s Credit and Customer Services. The event, “In the Garden with Ron Wilson,” will give Associates the opportunity to learn more about what’s happening to our bees and what everyone can do to be “bee friendly and pollinator polite” in our yards and gardens. A local gardening expert and talk-radio host, Ron Wilson, will lead attendees in an open-format discussion.

How are you celebrating National Honey Bee Day? Tell us about an event or project near you.


You also might like:

Celebrate World Oceans Day
Celebrating World Water Day
National Groundwater Awareness Week 

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