Whole Story

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Give Bees a Chance

You’ve probably heard that honey bees are in crisis. Still, you might be asking, “What’s the big deal? I don’t eat that much honey.” I used to wonder that too, but now I realize that the honey bee decline is a much bigger — and stickier — issue.

You can thank a pollinator for one out of every three bites you eat. Bees help produce more than 100 types of crops, everything from almonds to watermelons. They’re also vital to the clover and alfalfa that feed beef and dairy cows. In other words, if you care about food, you need to care about bees. Healthy bees are essential to a varied and abundant food supply.

Background

In late 2006, North American beekeepers began to report mysterious losses of entire colonies. This phenomenon, known as “Colony Collapse Disorder,” focused international attention on honey bee decline. Since then, managed honey bee colonies have continued to die off at an average rate of 29.6% each year.

What Can We Do?

Scientists and beekeepers theorize that the honey bee decline may be caused by a combination of factors, including parasites, loss of habitat and increased exposure to pesticides, including systemic insecticides. Although the problem is complex, there are a few simple steps we can take to help preserve pollinators (and secure the future of food):

Mix it up. Plant native flowers with different shapes, colors and bloom times. Blooming herbs, fruits and vegetable are good choices too!

Dare to go bare. Preserve some brush piles and bare patches of soil to help native bees dig nests.

Don't spray it. Pesticides can impact bees' learning and foraging skills. If you can, skip pesticides altogether.

Find more tips and information on wholefoodsmarket.com/sharethebuzz.

Let’s Use our Melons

To help safeguard our food supply, Whole Foods Market has teamed up with the Xerces Society, a leader in pollinator research and education. For every organic cantaloupe you buy through July 1, we’ll donate 20 cents to help educate farmers, gardeners and land managers.

Many of our supplier partners donate to the Xerces Society too, including ACURE Organics, Annie’s, Attune Foods, Aura Cacia, Barney Butter, Big Dipper Wax Works, Blue Diamond, Boiron, Burt’s Bees, Cascadian Farm, Celestial Seasonings, Dream, Evolution Fresh, The Greek Gods, Justin’s, Luna, Maisie Jane’s, Mediterranean Snacks, MaraNatha, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, Talenti, and TERRA. Look for the “Give Bees a Chance” signs on their products throughout the store.

The Human Bee-In – Saturday, June 21

Ready to learn more about the link between bees and the future of food? On Saturday, June 21 all of our US stores are hosting a “Human Bee-In,” an event which will feature family-friendly  activities and tips for pollinator gardens. See your local store calendar for details.

How are you helping to “bee the solution”? Share the buzz in the comments below!

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11 comments

Comments

Maureen Rowland says …

All life matters. We are connected. What happens to the honeybee will impact us and our planet. Your efforts to bring the plight of the honeybee to the classroom is one more reason why I support your store. I have been a beekeeper for a year now and will continue to do my part. Thank you!

Rommy Lopat says …

Interesting. In our town, Lake Forest, IL, Whole Foods wants to build a store which will require cutting down 400 mature oak and hickory trees and the wildflowers that grow underneath them (and feed the bees and other pollinators. Oak trees being the best tree for pollinators in the Midwest). And then Whole Foods proposes replacing those 200 year old trees with 400 new trees from the nursery and non-pollinator plants like daylilies. Are you sure Whole Foods is on the side of nature?

Srice635 says …

I've been having trouble growing tomatoes in the city -- not because it's the city -- but the lack of bees!!! Thanks for the tips -- I grow my tomatoes right behind my roses to try and attract more bees -- and no chemicals, etc. -- but still I jump up and down when I see a bee -- our ecology is in grave danger!!

H Marie Baldner says …

Thanks so much for passing the word around about bees. Thanks to having more bees and now bumblebees for the first time in my garden in 8 years, I am getting large, early berries and tomatoes. In addition, this is something to think about and inform people: I opened the door at night and the motion detector light came on. Moths were busy polinating my tomato plants in the dark, but they flew immediately to the porch light and left their polinator duties. Please consider telling people that night polinators are distracted by garden, pathway lights and "always on" yard lights. The darker the better, at night, for preserving our polinated food sources. Marie Baldner, Boise, ID

sharon says …

I wish you'd post these "for every X you buy, we'll donate X to help such and such". I am reading this in August and if I'd known that buying organic cantalope would help bees, I would have bought many. If it was advertised, I never saw it.

Crystal Pack Cheatham says …

Thank you for giving bees a chance, my father was a beekeeper his entire life!!!!

Sophie Brinkley says …

My mom just started beekeeping and I saw someone holding a give bees a chance canvas bag. Where could I get one of those?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SOPHIE - We are not making these any longer, however, I did find a few on eBay that were for sale. Good luck!

Karen Jensen says …

I purchased a "Give Bees a Chance" grocery bag in Santa Monica, CA and since I've come back to Washington State every time I go shopping I'm besieged by people who want my bag. Where can the bags be purchased in the Seattle area? They are not sold at my Whole Foods on Westlake Avenue, but the shoppers are sure interested in my bag. I wish I had purchased more as gifts since they are so popular.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KAREN - Unfortunately they were a limited edition bag but I have seen some on sale on eBay!

Blair says …

Let's do the Give Bees a Chance campaign again! It's such a great cause, and has such a delicious yield!