What We Are Doing To Help Save Bees
- Engaging in media and educational outreach to raise awareness about the importance of bees, the challenges to their survival and about the beauty of beekeeping.
- Inspiring individuals and groups to build habitat corridors for bees and wildlife.
- Supporting bee research in an effort to end bee population declines.
- Partnering with schools to encourage environmental stewardship.
- Partnering with and supporting other like-minded organizations.
Since the beginning of society, the origin and nature of the honeybee has awakened the curiosity of humankind. For five million years, this humble, fuzzy insect has been an animal of special sanctity, symbolizing many things such as: the human soul, industry, creativity, cooperation and the sweet gifts of nature. Bee gods and goddesses were worshipped by Mayans, Hindus, Sumerians and the ancient Greeks who called their priestesses “Melissa” (“bees”). The Emperor Napoleon even adopted the bee as his personal badge.
Although prehistoric petroglyphs depict people on honey hunts, the ancient Egyptians are believed to truly be the first to originate beekeeping. Egyptian tombs from 2400BC depict beekeepers collecting honey as well as traveling with hives for the purpose of pollinating crops. The bee was so important to the Egyptians that they used bees as a symbol of regal power.
Traditionally, beekeeping was undertaken to benefit from the bee’s honey, which was used as a sweeter as well as a medicine since raw honey is an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal substance. Today, commercial beekeepers also work with bees to pollinate millions of crops across America.
Why does this matter to you?
Then, as now, bees have played a crucial role in our ecosystem. Did you know that a third of the fruits and vegetables we eat depend on bees for pollination? Bees play a vital role as pollinators, which is why their sudden-die off (Colony Collapse Disorder) in recent years is such a critical environmental issue.
No Bees = No Fruits, Nuts or Vegetables
Fruits and nuts dependent on bees: Almonds, watermelons, cantaloupes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, cherries, oranges, peaches and kiwifruit.
Vegetables dependent on bees for yield: Cucumbers, squash, select peas and select beans.
Poor quality without bees: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra.
What can you do to help the bees?
While we don’t yet know what is causing Colony Collapse Disorder, we do know that forces like habitat destruction, invasive species, overuse of pesticides, global warming and other environmental stresses create risks to bees. Visit our Garden and Act pages to learn more about what you can do to help!
Guillermo Fernandez officially has “bee fever.” The grandson of a beekeeper, he assists with some hives in NYC. He has held key marketing roles at People, Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines. His dream is to come face-to-face with Mayan stingless bee.
Kellen Henry is a beekeeper and digital journalist based in Brooklyn, NY. She currently has two hives with celebrity queens Beeyonce and Bee Arthur. Her hives are a project of Feedback Farms, a group running small-scale farming operations and develops systems and technology to overcome land tenancy challenges.
John Howe, founder of NYCbeekeeping.org, is a longtime Brooklyn apiarist now living in Devon, England. A modern bee-whisperer, John is the the basis for Fred, the main character in the award-winning children’s book, The Honeybee Man.
Rebecca Louie is a journalist and content strategist. When she isn’t playing with her honeybees in the Catskills, she’s playing with her composting worms in Queens. To read more of her work, please visit rebeccalouie.com.
James Zitting is a beekeeper in the Ozarks. Nudged by the economy, encouraged by his lovely wife Nikki, and inspired by the likes of Gene Logsden he has turned watching bees into a fulltime passion. James seeks to help others find and preserve local and genetically diverse bees.
Joshua Rim is a senior at Williams College, where he majors in Biology. He has a passion for the natural sciences with an interest in, among other things, bee physiology.
Michaela Medina is a pollinator-loving professional gardener, garden designer, photographer, coach and speaker. She is also a freelance garden writer and pens two lush blogs: The Gardener’s Eden and also Garden Variety: The Barnes & Noble Gardening Blog.
Dr. Reese Halter, an award-winning conservation biologist, father and author with a recently published the book, The Incomparable Honeybee and the Economics of Pollination. Dr. Reese is the founder of Global Forest Science, an international charitable forest research foundation.
Ruby Sara is a poet, essayist and performance artist with a deep love for honeybees. Ruby holds a Masters degree in Theological Studies and maintains a semi-regular blog at www.gospelpagan.wordpress.com, where she writes about issues relating to earth-centered spirituality and contemporary paganism.
Terry is fascinated by the industriousness, resilience, and beauty of the honeybee and loves to observe and take pictures of her bees and other pollinators at work in her garden, and to simply stand near her hives and listen to the steady hum.