PHOTOGRAPH BY SCOTT LESLIE, MINDEN PICTURES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
August 22nd, 2015 marks the day where bee keepers across the nation celebrate our mighty pollinating friends, Honey Bees! This national awareness day began as a grassroots movement to educate the public about the beekeeping community and business.
The 2015 National Honey Bee Day theme, “Ban Ignorance, not Honey Bees” is closely connected with the core value of NHBD: educating the public about beekeeping and helping people understand the importance and contributions that honey bees provide.
According to the NHBD website, there are many areas across the nation with prohibitive or outright bans on beekeeping. In the last few years, massive deaths of honey bee hives have been documented throughout the news. Because of certain farming practices that disturb natural habitats and forage that bees love, Honey Bees are in danger of completely disappearing from our environment.
Many hive deaths have been caused by various parasites and it is only the treatment and care provided by beekeepers that is keeping colonies live. The majority of wild honey bee colonies have died out as a result of these diseases. Other foes bees face are caused by unsustainable agricultural practices, a direct consequence of human greed. Without bees, 1/3 of the food we eat would not be available. Pollination by bees is crucial for genetic sustainability and the continuation of organic agriculture and even backyard gardens.
Here is a great video that explains why bee populations are struggling.
How can you help our dear Honey Bee friends?
If you are interested in keeping bees yourself, check the local ordinances of your city to see if you are allowed to have hives. If your city does not permit beekeeping, join your nearest association and fight to make hives legal in your township!
“Beekeepers are not just vital for large scale food production. Backyard beekeepers are vital for neighborhood pollination. And your local ecosystem of food production for wild animals and birds is dependent on this same pollination. Beekeepers fill the void with their honey bees. It is that simple.” ×
You can also help the local wild bee populations by planting a variety of flowers. Here are a few that the bees seem to love:
- Herbs: Lavender, Catmint, Sage, Cilantro, Thyme, Fennel, Borage
- Perennials: Crocus, Buttercup, Aster, Hollyhocks, Anemone, Snowdrops, Geranium
- Annuals: Calendula, Sweet Asylum, Poppy, Sunflower, Zinnia, Cleome, Heliotrope
Supporting local honey companies who are working hard to save our friendly pollinators is also a big help to the cause! We really love Hometown Honey and Georgia Honey Farm – you can find their products for sale on our website here. Eating local honey also has protective effects against allergies and helps boost overall health. Protecting honey bees is imperative to maintaining our food supply and even preserving our species.