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.
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 opens in a new tab.
Let’s Use our Melons
To help safeguard our food supply, Whole Foods Market has teamed up with the Xerces Society opens in a new tab, 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 opens in a new tab, Annie’s opens in a new tab, Attune Foods opens in a new tab, Aura Cacia opens in a new tab, Barney Butter opens in a new tab, Big Dipper Wax Works opens in a new tab, Blue Diamond opens in a new tab, Boiron opens in a new tab, Burt’s Bees opens in a new tab, Cascadian Farm, opens in a new tabCelestial Seasonings opens in a new tab, Dream opens in a new tab, Evolution Fresh opens in a new tab, The Greek Gods opens in a new tab, Justin’s opens in a new tab, Luna opens in a new tab, Maisie Jane’s opens in a new tab, Mediterranean Snacks opens in a new tab, MaraNatha opens in a new tab, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day opens in a new tab, Talenti opens in a new tab, and TERRA opens in a new tab. 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 opens in a new tab for details.
How are you helping to “bee the solution”? Share the buzz in the comments below!