Honey Bees, Our Most Efficient Pollinators
Writer / Nancy Craig
My great nieces, Lindsey and Lauren, love honey and will put it on just about everything. They loved the little bear honey holders I got from Wildflower Ridge Honey, a company owned by David and Pattie Barrickman of Anderson, Indiana.
The Barrickmans spoke at the Herb Society of Central Indiana’s Spring Symposium, and I learned about the importance of bees in pollinating our foods.
In his presentation, David showed us pictures of what life would look like with bees and without bees. With bees, the produce stand was full of all kinds of fruits and vegetables; without bees, there were only a couple of foods. Without bees, we simply would not have many of the foods we eat every day since honeybees perform 80 percent of the pollination of crops.
We need to help our bees since there is a decline in the bee population. Scientists believe part of the decline of honeybees is due to colony collapse disorder or CCD, and it is a global problem.
Beekeepers ship their honeybee hives across the U.S. to pollinate many different crops like the almond groves in California. These groves are the main source of almonds for the world.
Another factor that affects the decline is the increased use of pesticides like Neonicotinoids. Purdue Extension has free publications on bees and pollination. Visit the Purdue Education Store online at edustore.purdue.edu.
This month, National Pollinator Week is June 15-21. “Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.” See this link for more information on bees in Indiana: bit.ly/indiana_bees.
We can help our bees by educating ourselves about them, planting “bee-friendly” plants and not using pesticides in our gardens. Watch the big stores like Lowe’s that have agreed to stop selling products with Neonicotinoids, which kills bees. Another way is to buy local honey; one source is Hunter’s Honey Farm near Mooresville. Their website is huntershoneyfarm.com.
Max and Eli, my great nephews, and I are reading this book, “What If There Were No Bees?: A Book About the Grassland Ecosystem,” by Suzanne Slade.
We have planted blue flowers that the bees like; for the spring, we have lilac and borage. For the summer, we have snapdragons and bee balm, and then for the fall, we have asters and sedums. We need the bees to pollinate our blueberries this summer!