Tomorrow is National Honey Bee Day.
Back in 2009, a group of beekeepers decided the way to educate people about the sweet magic of honey bees was by giving them their own day of recognition. Now there are scores of events across the country to celebrate the hard-working honey bee.
Bees, as you know, have been in the news for the past few years as a weird thing called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has killed billions of them.
"I think the message here is 'Know your beekeeper,'" said Matthew Domingo, marketing manager for the Portland-based Bee Local company. Bee Local makes local artisan (raw) honey from its own bees and hives, and is trying to replicate this model around the country in order to start a movement for a new wave of beekeeping that is kinder to the bees.
Five incredible honey bee facts:
1) Honey bees are the only insect that produce a food eaten by humans containing the enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water needed to sustain life.
2) Honey bees communicate with one another by dancing! They have to fly about 90,000 miles to collect 2.2 pounds of honey.
3) Each honey bee colony has a unique odor that helps its worker bees identify it.
4) Pollination is a far more important task honey bees provide to humans than the honey they give us. About one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants, and honey bees are responsible for 80 percent of this pollination.
5) Bee deaths are still alarming - in the U.S., a 2015 survey found beekeepers reporting an average loss to their hives of about 40% of their bees compared to prior to the advent of CCD.
Bee Local said that it's not a mystery that bees are dying - the billion-dollar business of pollination usually involves moving bee hives thousands of miles and putting them in close quarters with millions of other bees, then subjecting them to pesticides used on the mono-crops they are pollinating, and supplementing the hives - because nectar may not be nearby – with bad food (like high fructose corn syrup).
"We want a revolution similar to what has happened in vegetables and meats, where people want to know their producers," said Bee Local's Matthew Domingo. "If people start thinking just a bit on how to preserve the health of honey bees and stop thinking of honey as only a commodity product, that is great."
Bee crazy, bee nutty, bee happy.