bees – More than honey

2 bees on big, yellow flower

World Bee Day

bees: more than honey

In July 2017 the UN decided to designate May 20 as World Bee Day. We all depend on bees as pollinators. Nevertheless the pollinators are endangered: the extinction rate of some species is 100 to 1000 times higher than normal due to human impact:

  • Human caused climate change
  • Pesticides
  • non-sustainable agricultural practices (monoculture)
  • loss of habitat

For a healthy diet, we need nutritious crops, such as fruits, nuts and many vegetable crops. These depend on pollinators. Without pollinators, our diet would become unbalanced – think of how you would feel without almonds, apples, berries, cucumber, pumpkin, chocolate or coffee. According to FAO, 75 percent of the world’s food crops depend at least in part on pollination by insects and other animals.

Pollination is a fundamental process for the survival of our ecosystems. 

There are 2 billion small farmers worldwide who rely on pollinators to improve amount and food quality. This is important to ensure food security for the world’s population and a source of jobs and income for the poorest families around the world. 

We need pollination for medicinal products, for biofuels, for fabrics like cotton and linen and other construction material. 

Pollinators inspire art and science, religion, literature and music. Structures of the honey comb inspire car and aircraft industry, software and communication companies alike. 

Did you know?

  • In some areas in China pollination is done by hand. China killed sparrows which ate the crop on the fields. In turn the amount of insects grew. As a result more and more pesticides were used and bees and other insects died. 
  • To make 1kg of honey, bees must visit 4 million flowers and fly 4 times the distance around the world.
  • One honey bee alone can produce 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its life.
  • Only the queen bee lays eggs, around 1,500 per day. Worker bees are all female. The male bees “drones” don’t sting and are killed by the female bees in fall.  
  • Honey bees are the only bee species that die after a sting.
  • There are 25,000 to 30,000 different species of bees. 
  • A honey bee can fly as fast as 24km/h.
  • It is estimated that between US$235 billion and $577 billion worth of annual global food production relies on direct contributions by pollinators.

What you can do to help

  • make sure you plant a diverse set of native plants which ensure you have flowering plants all year around
  • instead of a perfectly cut lawn consider to saw some bee flowers
  • buy honey, fruit and veggies locally
  • buy food which is grown sustainable and organic
  • don’t use pesticides and herbicides in your garden
  • protect wild bees by offering them room to live
  • leave a water bowl outside for the insects to drink
  • help us raise awareness and share the information
  • dont support monocultures by informing yourself what you buy and where (read also here

What we do to help bees

  • We are constantly learning  from responsible beekeepers we work with
  • We only use wax which has been tested on pesticides and impurities
  • We are in the process of developing a beekeeping guide, focusing on sustainable beekeeping
  • We educate children about bees and sponsor beehives in local schools
  • we send you a pack of bee flower seeds with every order. It also contains perennials which will flower each year

Further information

honeyassociation.com

worldbeeday.org

www.un.org/en/observances/bee-day/background

http://www.fao.org/webcast/home/en/item/5270/icode/

https://bees.undp.org

https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9107955/china-fruit-trees-pollinated-by-hand-due-to-a-lack-of-pollinating-insects/

 

 

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