EnviroForensics Celebrates National Honey Bee Day – August 20th

Senior Project Manager, Jennifer Hallgarth (Left), and Project Manager, Casey McFall (Right), use their free time to do some beekeeping.
Senior Project Manager, Jennifer Hallgarth (Left), and Project Manager, Casey McFall (Right), use their free time to do some beekeeping.

We are celebrating National Honey Bee Day (August 20) to promote honey bee stewardship and awareness. Protection of pollinators through environmentally and sustainable agricultural practices is important for the success of honey bees. Our resident beekeepers have created these 10 fun facts about honey bees and how you can help them along their pollination journey.

1.       A typical honey bee colony contains 60,000-100,000 worker bees and 1 queen.

2.       A worker bee lives for approximately 6 weeks and the queen can live for 4 to 6 years. The queen typically lays 2,000 eggs per day during the height of the season.

3.       There are approximately 25,000 different honey bee species, with 4,000 known species in the U.S.

4.       Honey bees can travel over three miles when foraging for food. A single bee pollinates 2,000 flowers and plants daily. Their wings beat 10,000 times per minute.

5.       The average American consumes about one pound of honey per year.

6.       To make one pound of honey, foragers must fly 55,000 miles and pollinate two million flowers, plants, and trees.

7.       One-third of the food we consume relies on pollinating animals, mainly honey bees. Blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent on honey bee pollination. Almonds depend entirely on the honey bee for pollination.

8.       The U.S. honey bee’s economic contribution is valued at nearly $15 billion.

9.       Did you get stung by a bright yellow and black insect? It likely wasn’t a honey bee. Most honey bees are not aggressive unless you disrupt their hive. It was likely a yellow jacket which is a wasp (and a jerk).

10.   Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is the dramatic die-off of domesticated honey bees in Europe and North America. The causes of CCD are still being studied, but parasites and pesticides (namely neonicotinoids) are the main suspects.

HOW TO HELP THE HONEY BEES

You can help honey bees by providing a source of food and a resting place with water. Honey bees will provide increased pollination and harvest in your garden. Think about replacing part or all of your lawn grass with flowering plants to provide habitat and food for pollinators. Select single flower top plants such as daisies and marigolds. Doubled headed flower produce less nectar and make pollination more difficult. Skip the highly hybridized plants as they produce very little pollen. Plant many different types of flowers to ensure a year around food source. Crocus, hyacinth, yarrow, borage, calendula, and lilac provide spring blooms. Hostas, Echinacea (cone flower), cosmos, sunflowers, snapdragons, black-eyed susan, and foxglove are a good summer food source. Zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel, and goldenrod are excellent fall plants.