Monday, September 28, 2009

Wear Your Support For Honey Bees

When a honey bee returns to the hive after finding a good pollen source, it gives out samples of the flower’s nectar to its hive mates and performs a dance that details the distance, direction, quality and quantity of the food supply. The richer the food source, the longer and more vigorous the dance. Our Honeycomb Collection was inspired by honey bees.

Over the last three years more than one in three honey bee colonies has died nationwide, posing a serious risk to our natural food supply. One cause of these losses is an alarming phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or “CCD.” When a hive experiences CCD, the honey bees mysteriously desert their hive and die.

Reasons to be concerned about honey bees and CCD:
  • One out of every the three bites of food an average American eats is directly attributed to honey bee pollination.
  • Honey bees are responsible for the pollination of more than 100 crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and provide 80 percent of the country’s pollination services.
  • The honey bee is responsible for $15 billion in U.S. agricultural crops each year.
  • Honey bees fly approximately 10 to 15 miles per hour and visit about 50—100 flowers in each pollination trip.
  • To produce one pound of honey, honey bees must visit two million flowers and fly 55,000 miles
Researchers do not know exactly what causes CCD, but they believe there may be many factors contributing to the problem, including viruses, mites, chemical exposure and poor nutrition. CCD symptoms have been reported by more than thirty-five states across the U.S. and in many other countries. No one is more affected by the honey bee crisis than local beekeepers. Many have lost entire hives to CCD, and their knowledge is a valuable resource for understanding the challenge we face.

Ways to support these bee guardians:
  • Buy local honey and hive products such as beeswax candles.
  • Use natural honey as an alternative to processed sugar at home and in restaurants. It’s the “greenest” form of sugar!

Learn more about honey bees and beekeeping by checking out the following Web sites:

American Beekeeping Federation
American Honey Producers
Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium
National Honey Board
Pollinator Partnership
Penn State Dept. of Entomology
U.C. Davis Dept. of Entomology