Honey bees are responsible for a third of the food we consume as Americans, thanks to their ability to pollinate some of our favorite fruit, vegetables and nuts. These efforts are celebrated during Pollinator Week, which runs from June 19-25.
“Honey bees in particular are powerhouse pollinators, and getting involved in protecting their habitats — down to supporting healthy ecosystems — is something we can all do not only during Pollinator Week, but year round,” says Catherine Barry, the National Honey Board’s director of marketing. “The food and beverage industry would be quite bland without honey bees, as they are responsible for pollinating many of the ingredients used in some of the biggest food brands in the world.
Here are five ways to celebrate honey bees and other pollinators, according to the National Honey Board:
- Plant native plants: Native plants are better adapted to the local climate and soil, making them easier to grow and maintain. They also provide the best food and habitat for pollinators.
- Plant flowers with different bloom times: Pollinators need a diverse range of flowers to meet their nutritional needs throughout the growing season. Plant a variety of flowers that bloom at different times of the year to ensure a steady supply of nectar and pollen for pollinators.
- Create habitat: Pollinators need a place to rest and nest in between feeding. Create habitat in your garden by leaving some areas wild and adding features such as brush piles to provide shelter for pollinators.
- Avoid using pesticides: Pesticides can be harmful to pollinators and can disrupt the natural ecosystem in your garden. Instead, use natural pest control methods such as companion planting or handpicking pests to keep your garden healthy and free of harmful chemicals.
- Provide water: Pollinators need water to drink and to regulate their body temperature. Provide a shallow dish or birdbath filled with water to give pollinators a place to drink and cool off on hot days.
Those who want to learn more about the essential role honey bees and beekeepers play in the food industry and pollination can visit the National Honey Board's website or watch its Celebrating Beekeeping video series.