Helping Bees

Bees-at the heart of our global food supply

Helping bees — why it matters.

Helping bees matters because their numbers are decreasing at an alarming rate.  At the same time, honey bees and their pollinator friends are responsible for producing roughly 35 percent of the food we eat. This means that many of our favorite fruits and vegetables, from apples to zucchinis, could simply cease to exist if our bees continue to vanish.

Research shows bee losses are significant

Research shows that since 2006, commercial beekeepers in the U.S. have lost roughly 30 percent of their honey bee colonies each year. This is in comparison to historical bee-loss rates of 10 to 15 percent.  In other words, honey bee losses are now at least double what they once were.

The outlook for our food supply and quality of life does not look bright if the trend continues.

The disappearance of our bees could also have devastating effects on wildflowers, flowers in our gardens and flowering trees of all types. According to the Xerces Society, roughly eight-five percent of all flowering plants, (including those we use in our food supply) depend on pollinators  for their continued existence.

Bee losses could cost billions

The potential economic loss to farmers is equally concerning, and even more of a reason why we should be helping bees.  Here are some alarming statistics according to a Cornell University study published in 2012:

  • Roughly $29 billion in worldwide farm income could be attributed to pollinators in 2010.
  • Of this amount, roughly $19.2 billion was attributed in the study to honey bees.
  • Other pollinators, including leaf cutter bees, bumble bees, horn-faced bees and orchard bees, accounted for the remaining $9.8 billion.

Another indicator of why bees need our help, has to do with losses to commercial beekeepers. That rate of loss is increasing substantially. It may be hard to believe, but since 1947, the number of managed honey bee colonies (bee hives) in the U.S. has declined from 6 million colonies to only 2.5 million in 2014.

Helping bees: what you can do

Helping bees doesn’t have to be a difficult process.  You can help simply by taking responsibility for doing the right things in your own backyard.  You can also help by becoming better educated about the issues, and in turn, helping to educate others.

Depending on your resources and time available, helping bees could also mean providing support to bee-related initiatives that may come up in your community, and, if possible, by dedicating some financial support to bee-related causes.

Learn more about helping bees…

We invite you to read more about how you can help bees by visiting other bee-related websites to which this website links, as well as the links below.

Links to related resources: Helping Bees