I am not sure where I initially came across this, but I have been meaning to write about it for a month or so. And, since I have homework to procrastinate about, today became the day.
So, the deal is that honeybee colonies are dying off at these crazy rates, and no one is entirely sure what the cause is, though there are lots of theories...some, all, or none of which may be correct. It is called CCD, or colony collapse disorder.
Watch this video.
I know most people are saying "so what", which is a completely logical response, but the fact is that the phrase "busy bee" isn't just a bunch of hot air. Honeybees do lots for you even if you have never taken the time to think about it. The reality is, most people foolishly take the bees for granted, and we shouldn't.
Well, let's start with some obvious answers. First of all, they are the only insects that produce food for humans. Honey. Bees have been producing honey for 150 million years. Even if you don't buy and use straight honey, chances are you are still consuming it in various products from BBQ sauce to granola bars. And, there are honey/honeybee festivals all over the country. There is even a National Honey Board that has a wealth of information about the honey industry, recipes, etc.
Next up is wax. Bees wax is used for way more than candles. 60% of bees wax is used in manufacturing cosmetics and pharmaceuticals! Who knew! In addition to these, beeswax is also used in many adhesives and polishes. Check out more here.
So, aside from these 2 primary products, why care about the honeybees? How about this...they are single-handedly responsible for pollinating about 1/3 of the foods we eat and $15,000,000,000 in crops every year. Thanks to honeybees we have apples, cherries, almonds, strawberries, asparagus, grapes, cranberries, blueberries, watermelon, pumpkins...and the list goes on and on.
There is a very good chance you have a very good reason to be grateful to these little wonders who work a 10 hour day without any breaks.
There are lots of scientists studying CCD around the country and around the world. But, there are things you can do to help as well!
WAYS TO HELP:
1. Spread the word. I would bet that most people don't even know this is an issue, and you can help educate them.
2. Support Beekeepers. Honey is the greenest sweetener around!
3. Plant a bee friendly garden. Choose plants that have long flowering periods, and be sure to have a birdbath for drinking!
4. Eat Ice Cream. Häagen-Dazs has really gotten behind this issue, and the least we can do is support them! A portion of the proceeds from each container of "Bee-Built" flavors is donated to this cause. Try their Vanilla Honey Bee! You can learn more about what Häagen-Dazs is doing here.