I’m about to hit the road again, having only just returned from cavorting with a bunch of wacky Christians in North Carolina, but looking forward to spending two weeks at my writing retreat in New Hampshire with my bestest friend EVER.
I’ll stock up on the local late-summer honey while I’m there. It’s dark in color and rich and complex in flavor — nectar gathered more from trees than flowers this time of year.
Honey Bee Appreciation Day
Since I’ll be driving and unable to blog, I wanted to give you a heads up that August 17th is Honey Bee Appreciation Day. As you might have heard, honey bees are in big trouble. And when honey bees are in trouble, humans are in trouble because bees pollinate our food supply and our trees.
My church raises honey bees, and our hives are struggling.
Several countries have begun to ban the pesticides that are killing bees worldwide. As usual, America is behind the curve – there’s a lot of corporate money in pesticides. Recently, though, a couple of lawmakers have introduced a bill in Congress that will require the Environmental Protection Agency to pull certain pesticides off the market until their safety can be proven. It’s called “Save America’s Pollinators Act.” Click here to urge your members of Congress to support this important bill.
How to Honor the Bees
Adapted from the National Honey Bee Day website, here are suggestions of ways that you can celebrate honey bees and make a difference for our buzzy friends:
- Consider beekeeping as a worthwhile hobby and seek information to get started. The more beekeepers there are, the more voices there are speaking for the bees..
- Support local beekeepers by buying locally produced honey and other beehive products. Honey is the best “green” sweetener you can buy.
- Attend and support beekeeper association events held throughout the year in places like environmental centers, schools, and state parks.
- Educate yourself on the dangers and risks of homeowner pesticides and chemicals. Whenever possible, choose non-damaging and non-chemical treatments in and around the home. Most garden and backyard pests can be eliminated without harsh chemicals, which many times are not healthy for the pets, the kids, or the environment.
- Get to know the honey bee. Unlike other stinging insects, honey bees are manageable and non-aggressive. Don’t blame every stinging event on honey bees! Many times, the culprits are hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps.
- Plant a bee friendly garden with native and nectar-producing flowers. Use plants that can grow without extra water and chemicals. Native plants are the best for any region. Backyard gardens benefit from neighborhood beehives. Here is a link where you can read more about “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”
- Understand that backyard plants such as dandelions and clover are pollen and nectar sources for a wide variety of beneficial insects, including the honey bee. The desire to rid yards of these plants and have the “perfect” yard results in chemical runoff and environmental damage from lawn treatments. A perfect lawn is not worth poisoning the earth!
- Consider allowing a beekeeper to maintain beehives on your property. In some areas, beekeepers need additional apiary locations due to restrictive zoning or other issues. Having a beekeeper maintain hives on your property adds to the overall quality and appeal of any country farm or estate.
- Know that beekeepers are on the forefront in helping with unwanted wild bee colonies. Every community should welcome beekeepers. It is not the managed colonies beekeepers maintain that cause problems, it is unmanaged colonies. You can rely on beekeepers and bee associations for dealing with honey bee related issues. Passing restrictive measures or beekeeping bans might mean nobody is around to help when needed.
- Get involved with your community environmental center, volunteer programs, county garden center, and other agriculture and nature-based programs. No doubt you will meet a beekeeper. Beekeepers are part of your community and many love nature on all levels. Beekeepers give generously to affiliated programs and understand we are all connected.