It’s National Honey Bee Day!
U.S. beekeepers created this day in 2009 to build awareness around the decline of honey bees and to educate and promote the importance of bees. This holiday celebrates one of the hardest little workers on our planet and the beekeepers who help them thrive and sustain their colonies. At Colorado Hemp Honey and Frangiosa Farms, this holiday is very important to us!
An insect worth celebrating
Honey bees are such a critical piece to the growth and health of our food supply. More than a third of the foods we eat depend on pollination from bees and other pollinators. Honey bees do most of the pollinating for agricultural crops which produces the foods we eat. Unfortunately, recent studies have indicated that the population of honey bees is declining at a rapid rate.
According to Forbes Magazine, one of the main reasons honey bees are dying at such a rapid rate is the colony infestation of the deadly varroa mite which feeds on adult and worker bees, poor nutrition and exposure to pesticides. As people become more aware of this decline and beekeepers use safer practices for their hives, this is changing.
At Colorado Hemp Honey, we know that pollinators are on the decline. In fact, that is one of the primary reasons that Nick French, The Bee Shepherd, started our parent company Frangiosa Farms in 2008. Nick’s goal with the farm has been to educate the public about beekeeping and the importance of honey bees and educate about the concerns impacting the bee population while caring for honey bee hives.
Beekeepersare important and so are their efforts and labors. Their primary job is to ensure we have bees to pollinate our food, so we don’t want to discount the importance of this job either.
Partnering with the bees
For over 10 years, beekeepers Nick and Eric at Frangiosa Farms have worked with the honey bees to ensure they have enough forage to pollinate other crops and safely make honey. Our Colorado bees forage several crops like wildflower, clover, and blue iris spuria. They also forage the hemp crop we grow at our farm right here in the Rocky Mountains.
They help the bees manage their fight against mites and other bee diseases naturally and only intervene when they cannot do this on their own. They do this by using organic practices such as dusting bees with powdered sugars to encourage grooming and using essential oils like thyme and lemongrass to help protect bees from mites. Many commercial beekeeping practices use chemicals and pesticides that harm the bees and environment. That is an approach we won’t take because it is not best for the bees and contributes to the honey bee population decline.
“We are in a partnership with the bees. We look after them and they help us by pollinating fruit and seeds and making great tasting honey,” said Nick. “We only harvest surplus honey from strong hives.”
Creating lasting change
Supporting the bees using organic practices instead of pesticides is a better way for the bees but also comes with a higher expense. A few creative beekeepers have come up with a new source of funding and have invited people to support the bees directly by adopting honey bees and hives.
Frangiosa Farms has had its very own Adopt-a-Honey Bee for years which has allowed us to maintain a healthy environment for our bees. Not only do you get a certificate, but you get some of the delicious pure, raw honey too. This approach creates lasting change for the beekeepers and the honey bees. You can directly support the honey bees and their keepers without beekeeping yourself.
How will you celebrate?
Here are some ideas to help support the honey bees and their beekeepers on this holiday and beyond!
1. Spread wildflower seeds to help honey bees do their job and pollinate.
2. Support your local beekeepers by using a good, raw honey to sweeten your drink for the day. 3. Give Colorado Hemp Honey or Frangiosa Farms raw honey as a gift to someone you love. You will know this honey was created with the bees’ health as a top priority.
4. Find a National Honey Bee Day event near you and learn how you can support and help the bee population thrive.
Last, but most certainly not least, you can adopt a honey bee through our program at www.adoptahoneybee.com. Give yourself a gift knowing you are giving a gift to these hard-working honey bees.