The past twenty four hours have been a whirlwind. I woke up at 3am yesterday and caught a 6am flight out of Boston to Seattle.
The flight was ok. Just a little turbulence from North Dakota straight through to Seattle. They mentioned something about storm fronts and mountains causing some type of pressure or something.
I just popped a valium. Problem solved.
Upon arrival in Seattle, I immediately zipped over to my first event which was the Pollinator Picnic sponsored by Whole Foods at the Washington Arboretum.
If you ever get a chance to visit Seattle and if you love the whole flora thing, do visit the Washington Arboretum. It was spectacular.
Clearly, the point of the Pollinator Picnic was to learn about bees. And the funniest thing about this, is that I just went to an event locally to learn all about bees. I figured I better pay better attention, because clearly someone up above wanted to drive a point home.
At the event in my hometown we watched the sobering movie Queen of the Sun, which talks about the collapse of the honey bee colonies and how it’s adversely affecting our agriculture.
I was so moved by the movie. Bees have always been just an annoyance to me. Our yard is full of them due to our lilac bushes and other bee beloved plants, and we always have to worry about them buzzing around us.
Swatting them with a fly swatter meant very little to me. One less bee means one less sting. Or so I thought.
Now I better understand the role that bees play in our lives. Bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat.
If bees were no longer pollinating plants, we would no longer have foods such as kiwi, turnips, melons, herbs, peaches, most berries, cashews, almonds and avocados. Just to name a select few.
Tragically, bees are dying off at a scary rate. In 1974 there were 4.8 million hives. Today there are only 2 million.
Pesticides and mono agriculture are cited as the two biggest culprits to the the demise of the honey bees. But even the big agro businesses are becoming concerned with the collapse of the honey bee colonies.
Without them, they have no crops. So this is an issue that needs to be addressed before it’s too late.
Besides being responsible for a third of the food we eat, bees provide us another wonderful gift. Honey.
Honey has so many wonderful things to offer. From what I’ve read and heard (I’m no doctor, so keep that in mind), honey has been reported to help coughs, may help people with allergies, heals wounds, and works as an anti-fungus.
And it tastes good. I had the opportunity to try a variety of raw honeys and was surprised by how different honey tastes depending on the region and which plants the bees visited.
Keep in mind that children under the age of one should not consume honey due to botulism.
Whole Foods is also concerned by the collapse of the honey bees. As they should be considering that they are a grocer. All grocers should be concerned by this. Without the bees, there is no food to sell.
From June 13th through the 26th, Whole Foods is offering activities that highlight this situation through their Share The Buzz events across the country.
Some locations wil be showing the movie Queen of the Sun, and offering activities that explain bee keeping, how the hives function, and their role in our lives and agriculture. And it’s free.
If you have a Whole Foods in your area, I’d suggest checking it out. It might make you think twice before squishing the next honey bee you see buzzing around your hot dogs and potato salad.
While at the Pollinator Picnic, I had the opportunity to walk into their apiary to visit the hives. I was a little nervous, but the beekeeper explained that bees are very different from yellow jackets, and not aggressive by nature.
I got up close and personal with the bees and they paid me no attention whatsoever.
One of the tips they offered us was to plant bee friendly plants in our own yards. You don’t have to start a colony and buy a smoker to make a difference.
I’m hopeful that businesses and farmers are now aware that the collapse of the bee colonies is an issue that needs to be addressed right now. And hopefully this post will help spread that word so that you and I can make small differences where we can.
How about you? Were you aware of this issue? Is honey part of your diet?