World Bee Day

World Bee Day – a day that focuses on gratitude for bees, the most important insect for human survival. Pollen and nectar from flowers are vital to the growth of crops. Learn more here!

When is world bee day?

World Bee Day is May 20th!

What is World Bee Day and why celebrate it?

World Bee Day is a day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to acknowledge the importance of bees in our world’s ecosystem.

Honoring bees on World Bee Day is so important because, without bees, our world’s biodiversity and food security would be critically impacted.

Why is May 20th significant for bees and World bee day?

Anton Janša, the pioneer of modern beekeeping, was born on May 20th, 1734 in what is now Slovenia. Anton, who came from a family of beekeepers, is credited for changing the shape of the hive to flat panels that could be stacked on top of each other.

Photo of a bee and hexacon graphics behind it

Fun ways to celebrate world bee day!

There a many things you can to honor this amazing creature on World Bee Day.

Below are just a few ideas to get your started on your celebration.

photo of a bee drinking nectar from a purple flower for world bee day
  • Go to a local farmer’s market and patronize your nearest local beekeeper who sells local honey and bee products.
  • Make a new dessert and use your local honey as sweetener.
  • Buy some native seeds or blooming (or nectar bearing) plants and plant them in your yard, terrace or balconies and create a ‘pollination station’ for your native bees.
  • Keep reading to learn more about bees, their history and how they need us.

The Importance of Bees in our world

World Bee Day was established to help bring awareness to the essential role bees play in our lives and in our world. Bees not only provide us with sustenance, they are more and more vital to the production of our own food resources.

Bees are important to our ecosystem.

Bees are the main source of pollination in the world. We, and many other creatures, depend on these little critters to ensure the continued growth of our fruits and vegetables. Plus, they provide food and shelter to many different living things.

Bees are a fundamental piece of our food supply

In addition to butterflies, moths and other insects, bees are pollinators, they are one of the most important parts of farming and agriculture. Without them, our plants would not produce the fruits and vegetables that we depend upon for our nutrition. Our food crops are directly impacted by our bee colonies.

Bees are important part of our biodiversity

With the help of bees, our crops and orchards are often cross-pollinated which provides new species and varieties of fruits and vegetables as time progresses. With their help, our biodiversity continues to grow and provide a more sustainable and varied food supply.

A (VERY) brief History of Bees for World Bee Day

Bees are ancient creatures and have been an important part of our Earth for millions of years!

  1. The earliest bee was found in Myanmar. Most likely having originated in the far east, the oldest known recorded be dates back over 100 million years. Evidence shows that, most likely, these early bees were more like wasps, eating insects for food instead of producing their own nectar and honey. [1]
  2. About 65 million years ago, the bumblebee came on the scene. Because the mountains of Central Asia still has the most diverse bumblebee population, scientist credit this area for the origin of the humble bumblebee. From these mountains, they traveled all over the world to take up root from Europe to Siberia.. [2]
  3. Honeybees most likely originated in Asia and not Africa. In fact, honey bees potentially evolved from an old line of cavity-nesting bees that travelled from Asia over 300,000 years ago and made their way across Europe and Africa. [3]
  4. Prehistoric farmers were the first beekeepers. Archaeological evidence supports the idea that humans have been harvesting honey and other Bee products forever 9,000 years. They have found bits of beeswax on ancient clay vessels from the areas of Europe, the Near East and North Africa which implies that the very first agricultural societies actually kept bees. [4]

Three Types of bees in the hive

photo of queen bee on honeycomb

Queen Bee

A Queen’s only roll in life is to mate and lay eggs. She’s larger than all the other bees and all she ever does reproduce.

There is usually only one queen in a hive and the other bees protect her fiercely! [5]

photo of a worker bee

Worker Bee

Worker bees go through three stages in their lives. Nurse bees, where they take care of the larva. Care-taking, where they care for hive cleaning the hive and repairing the honeycomb. And the last stage is foraging, where they forage for nectar, pollen and water. [6]

photo of a drone bee

Drone Bee

Drone bees, like the queen have only one roll in life and that is to mate. They don’t have a stinger and if successful mating with a queen, it kills them. However, in the winter, the worker bees evict drones and they end up starving anyway. [7]

Frequently asked.

Burning questions about bees.

1. What do bees eat?

Most of the time bees eat pollen and nectar. But some bees, depending on their life cycle eat different things like over-ripe fruit. [8]

2. How long do bees live?

A queen bee can live a few years, but the other bees aren’t so lucky. A worker bee might live anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and a drone only makes it for a couple of months or if he succeeds in mating. Because, as ya know.. that kills them. [9]

3. How do bees make honey?

First, the worker bee sucks the nectar (and eats just a little if she’s hungry) and stores it in her nectar pouch. When she returns to the hive, the bees pass the nectar, mouth to mouth, which eventually turns into honey. Then they store it in the wax cells until someone needs to eat it. [10]

4. Are Bees Endangered?

graphics of bees and honeycomb

Honey bees

According to the National Wildlife Federation, honey bees are not in danger of extinction, but beekeepers in the U.S. lose up to 40% of their population due to pesticides, parasites, disease and climate change.

Native Bees

However, native bees in the USA are in danger. Bees like the bumble bee are important pollinators of our crops, but their population is declining. In fact, the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee was listed on the federal endangered species list in 2017.

5. How can we help the native bees?

NWF says we need to grow a variety of flowering plants, (or nectar bearing plants) native to the area, that bloom all throughout the year in various times. And never use pesticides. [11]

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, believes we are losing some species forever. Now is the time to help our bees and thus our food supply and environment. [12]

Interesting Stats About Bees for World Bee Day

Are you interested in Beekeeping?

Growing up, we had bees in a huge tree out front. One summer, because it was completely dead, my dad and his friend cut it down. It turned out there were honey bees in the hollow of the tree, and they collected loads of the golden sweetness. After that, my dad was hooked.

For several years, my dad kept bees in our backyard. I’m not sure it was what one would call a blazing success, but he enjoyed it and we all enjoyed the honey he harvested (when there was honey!) Our bees seemed to fly away quite a lot.

But if you are interested in beekeeping, here are some fun facts for you:

Bees are truly amazing.

Not only do they keep us supplied with a delicious, natural sweetener, they are a huge reason why we have an abundance of fruits and vegetables to eat. Without bees, we would be at a loss for apples, strawberries, peaches, pears, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and so many more of the foods we both enjoy and need to sustain our lives.

Let’s take some time on World Bee Day and appreciate these little creatures and how much they do to sustain us and our world!

What do you plan to do in observance of world bee day?

For more days like World Bee Day, visit our schedule of National Days!

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