August 17 is National Honey Bee Day! It’s a day to celebrate bees and bring together beekeepers and bee enthusiasts of all backgrounds to highlight the important role that bees play in our daily lives.
There are over 19,000 different species of bees globally, who are responsible for pollinating 30 percent of the world’s food crops and 90 percent of our wild plants. Bees are absolutely essential to sustain life on this Earth as we know it.
For the last 15 years, there has been a broad focus on and awareness of societal impacts to bee populations — after all, fewer bees mean fewer crops, which not only impact food security, but also the economy and maintenance of a healthy ecosystem.
“There are so many tiny actions all of us can do to play a part in protecting bees,” said Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson. “Protecting bees is not just the job of beekeepers — we all have a role, and it can start in our own backyards.”
Let’s celebrate National Honey Bee Day by creating thriving habitats for these essential little pollinators. Here are five easy things we can all do to help bees thrive.
STEP 1: Limit how much spraying it done
The overuse or misuse of pesticides is believed to be a threat to pollinators worldwide. More gardeners are turning more to products such as garlic, onion or salt spray, or even chili or pepper spray, while larger-scale growers are embracing genetically engineered crops that have Bt insecticides incorporated directly into the crop rather than having to spray it on. Overall, if you spray, it’s good to do so outside of foraging hours.
STEP 2: Plant bee-friendly flowers
Even if you don’t keep bees, planting a bee friendly garden is something anyone can do. (Some companies, such as BASF, will even send you free pollinator-friendly plants.)
Find plants that bloom at different times of the year. Support a range of different pollinators throughout the different seasons. Trees and shrubs produce much higher quantities of pollen and nectar; however, smaller plants produce forage more regularly — it’s great to have a selection of both.
STEP 3: Let your garden get a little messy!
Be garden lazy! Let your veggie and herb plants flower and let the dandelions bloom — the bees get to forage and you get some time off gardening duties — win-win!
STEP 4: Help educate children on the importance of pollinators
Educating children about bees and pollinators is a great way to get them involved with caring for the environment and provides an excellent excuse to get them outdoors and off their screens! Find ways to make a game out of locating and observing pollinators.
STEP 5: Become a beekeeper!
Discover the fascinating world and experience how caring for your own colony connects with your local environment. There’s never been a more important time to act.
Click here to see how one innovative company is using bees to distribute fungicides and helping to reduce the need to spray.