The Importance of Bees & Bee Safety
With National Pollinator Week quickly approaching (June 21-June 27), we wanted to take a moment to talk about the importance of bees and the problems they face, not just one week out of the year, but every day.
For decades, bee populations have been declining across the world due to environmental stressors, many of which are within our control. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how serious a threat declining bee populations are to our ecosystems and what consequences we could face if immediate action is not taken.
Today, we’ll walk you through everything from the basic questions of why are bees important, what threats they face, what ways you can help support bees, and how you can educate others about the importance of bees in the ecosystem.
Why Are Bees Important?
When you consider the fact that one single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day, the importance of bees in the ecosystem goes far beyond the production of honey.
Bees are the most important pollinator of food crops, cotton, flax, and other valuable non-food products we enjoy today, providing nearly $15 billion in economic value through bee pollination. In fact, it’s said that 80% of U.S. crops and 90% of the world’s nutrition are dependent on bee pollination. What’s more, the pollination of clover and alfalfa implies that bees are vital to the meat and dairy industry as well.
Why is Pollination Important?
Pollination is an essential part of plant reproduction that takes place when pollen from a flower’s anthers (male part of the plant) drops onto a pollinator. Once extracted, the pollinator takes the pollen grain to another flower and sticks the grain to the stigma (female part of a plant), which later yields fruit and seeds. Without pollinators, many of the fruits and vegetables you enjoy today would not exist, including:
...and that’s not all. If pollinators were to go extinct or plants could not produce pollen, many of the world’s ecosystems would perish.
What are the Biggest Threats Bees Face Today?
Though 2020 saw an increase in the number of bee colonies across the nation, decades of environmental changes mean the fight to protect the bees is far from over. After years of research, several environmental stressors were linked to the decline of bee populations and contributing to the bee-specific phenomena known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). CCD is an abnormal condition that occurs when worker honeybees never return to the hive, leaving the entire colony to collapse.
Often made with certain synthetic chemicals and neonicotinoids, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other synthetic plant care concoctions have lethal effects on not only invasive garden pests but innocent pollinators as well. When you consider the fact that neonicotinoids are the most commonly used pesticide in the world, you can quickly see how threatening their use becomes to pollinators on a global scale.
Other environmental stressors affecting bees include (but are not limited to):
- Habitat Loss
- Poor Beekeeping Practices
- Global Warming
- Monocrop Agriculture
For these reasons, Organic Labs is committed to creating bee friendly pesticides from natural and organic ingredients that won’t cause harm to pollinators. As evidenced in the 2018 BEE Study conducted by Organic Labs, when tested, the Organocide BEE SAFE 3-in-1 Garden Spray resulted in a 0% mortality rate among bees, further documenting the importance of organic garden products for protecting pollinators.
What Others Are Doing to Protect the Bees
As the developer of the only garden spray proven safe for bees, Organic Laboratories appreciates and celebrates like-minded organizations who have dedicated themselves to protecting and spreading the message of how important these vital pollinators are, like Matt Willey of The Good of the Hive®.
The Good of the Hive® is a movement on a mission to shine a light on the connection between humans and the natural world around us. By hand-painting 50,000 honeybees (the population needed for a successful hive) in murals around the world, Matt is calling attention to the importance of bees in the ecosystem.
Matt isn’t the only one out there trying to make a difference, either. There’s also Hannah of Hannah’s Honeycomb. This Florida-based pollinator advocate and sustainability consultant spends her days taking beautiful photography of pollinators while spreading the word about the small things we can do every day to support pollinators in our own backyards.
Government Agencies & Lawmakers
We’re also pleased to announce the government agencies, lawmakers, and organizations striving to make a positive difference in the important lives of pollinators around the world.
Both the USDA and EPA have taken extensive actions to protect the bees and other pollinators in various agricultural settings, including the proposed decreased use and restriction of neonicotinoids. The EPA is also working diligently to develop and implement stewardship and best management practices to reduce pollinator pesticide exposure.
Even lawmakers have become part of the fight to protect the bees! The California Legislation Pollinator Habitat Funding Bill appropriated $5 million in general funds to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to provide funding for technical assistance, outreach and incentivized participation in both state and federal conservation programs where pollinator habitat and forage is established.
Companies & Organizations
Then there’s the Pollinator Partnership, an organization on a mission to promote the health of pollinators through conservation, education, and research. Their signature initiatives include the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), National Pollinator Week, and the Ecoregional Planting Guides. Some have even gone as far as to create entirely new non-profit organizations to help further the study and support of pollinators, like The Bee Girl Organization, and The Bee Conservancy.
Even Walt Disney World® wants in on the action, announcing in April of 2021 the return of the Bee-stro at Disney World park Epcot®. Not only will guests be able to sample honey, but also learn about honey bees, from how they make honey, the plants they pollinate, and how to support them.
What Can I Do To Support Bees?
Around here, we believe anyone can do their part to reverse damage and restore balance within our ecosystem. In fact, there are dozens of ways you can join the cause anywhere you are!
When it comes to spreading awareness, social media is an invaluable tool many of us can use to our benefit. You, too, can spread awareness about pollinator week by sharing important information or fun facts about all the things pollinators do for us with the hashtag #pollinatorweek.
We encourage you to share graphics, photos, or videos of pollinators out in the wild, even if it’s just in your backyard! Be sure to check out our helpful videos, or visit us on Facebook and Instagram for examples of how we’re working to spread awareness of our bee friendly pesticides and how to best support pollinators visiting your garden.
Use Bee Safe Pesticides
Another way to support bee pollination is to start using pesticides that are safe for bees. Pesticides safe for bees will never have neonicotinoids, synthetic ingredients, or chemicals. For instance, our ORGANOCIDE® BEE SAFE products like the ORGANOCIDE® BEE SAFE Insect Killer, are made from dense natural oils and never neonicotinoids or petroleum solvents, which means they’re kid, pet, and pollinator-friendly!
Plant a Pollinator Garden
One of the easiest ways to support and protect bee pollination is by Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Garden for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies to enjoy. There are dozens of gorgeous plants you can plant to support pollinators, including native and perennial plants! Just be sure the plants you buy are not pre-treated with neonicotinoids!
Become part of the solution by spreading the word about declining pollinator populations. Below is a list of great resources to educate and encourage kids, teens, and adults to join the cause.
Teen & Adult Education
When it comes to protecting the bees, Organic Labs is on a mission to bring education and awareness surrounding the importance of bees to the roundtable. With our bee-friendly pesticides, you can become part of the fight to protect the bees starting with your own garden. No matter what way you join the effort to protect the bees, you can feel good knowing you’re helping others realize the importance of bee pollination and why bees are important for Mother Earth.