As an industry leader in natural and organic foods, Whole Foods Market® is passionate about raising honey bee awareness, taking action and helping our communities “bee the solution.”
The Mystery of the Disappearing Bees
In late 2006, North American beekeepers witnessed a mysterious phenomenon: in certain colonies, adult bees abruptly vanished, leaving the queen and her brood in an otherwise deserted hive.
This syndrome, known as “Colony Collapse Disorder,” focused international attention on honey bee populations, which have been declining since the 1990s.
Today, scientists and beekeepers theorize that honey bee decline is caused by a combination of factors, including pathogens, loss of crop diversity and increased exposure to systemic pesticides.
Where would we be without Bees?
The lives of bees and humans are intricately linked. More than 100 types of crops in the US are pollinated by bees, from almonds to zucchini. Bees are vital to the reproduction of clover and alfalfa, which feed grazing animals, and to the diverse ecosystems that sustain wildlife.
Throughout human history, bees have been revered for their precision, productivity and communal intelligence…not to mention honey, beeswax, bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly. Egyptian pharaohs inscribed images of bees on royal seals. In Greek mythology, bees were associated with deities and divination.
Hive Mind: Our Partnerships for Pollinators
Whole Foods Market has a long history of holistic thinking about food and where it comes from. In fact, caring for the environment and creating win/win partnerships are two of our Core Values, and we’ve been supporting organic farmers since 1980. In our efforts to support honey bees, we’re fortunate to have lots of help.
This nonprofit organization protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. The Society advocates on behalf of bees and other pollinators by publishing research, lobbying lawmakers and educating land stewards to restore the landscape for the benefit of pollinators.
Knowing the importance of honey bees to our food supply, some of our suppliers have made donations toward their preservation. Look for “Share the Buzz” signs throughout the store on products from brands that support this cause. Their donations go to the Xerces Society to help provide bee-friendly tools and education to our farmer partners.
Pollinators such as bees need food (forage) beyond the fruits and vegetables that they pollinate. In addition to supporting the work and donations of others, there are several different ways that you can help.
Six Simple Ways to Help Bee the Solution
Bee organic. Buying organic is one of the easiest ways to support bee-friendly forage.
Bee a gardener. Plant bee-friendly fruits and flowers to provide forage for honey bees. Visit our Floral Department or Garden Center for high-quality seeds and plants suited to your local climate. Ask for a bee-friendly list!
Bee savvy at home. Most lawn, garden and home pest problems can be solved without toxic and persistent chemical pesticides.
Bee a smart shopper. Several suppliers have donated funds to support honey bee preservation. Look for “Share the Buzz” signs on their products throughout the store.
Bee a beekeeper. Whether you live in the country or the city, you can show your commitment by hosting a hive in your backyard or even on a rooftop. The backyard beekeeping movement is growing, so you’re sure to find swarms of folks who can help you find your way.
Bee social. Social media can be a powerful tool for busy bees. Share stories, videos and more honey bee action ideas from Whole Foods Market®’s Facebook and Twitter posts. Check your local store calendar for buzz-worthy educational events.
Partnerships for Pollinators
Did you know that pollinators (mostly bees) are needed for more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species? These Whole Foods Market® supplier partners are helping to fund preservation of declining honey bee populations. Choose their products and help “bee the solution!”