Bees are one of nature’s most fascinating creatures. Not only to be able to create a food full of great properties like honey, but also because they are responsible for an essential process in flowers: pollination. Perhaps because of this importance they have, bees even have their day. We will then tell you about the World Bee Day: when is it, the origin and what is its importance.
World Bee Day: when is it?
The bee is, as they say, an essential animal in our ecosystem. Even bees have been declared the most important species in the world, to the point of having their own assigned day since 2017, the World Bee Day celebrated on May 20.
World Bee Day: the origin
A date dedicated to the bee, at the initiative of the UN and the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) which was born as they say in 2017, but World Bee Day is not so much to honor the bee and pay tribute to it, but to protect it from the dangers which threaten it and endanger its life and survival.
Why May 20?
the May 20 is the birthday of an 18th century Austrian beekeeper (1734-1773), Anton Janša. Forerunner of the modern beekeeperwho paid homage to bees in his time by applying innovative beekeeping techniques and demonstrating that these insects are able to maintain themselves and ensure their survival, without intensive human intervention.
World Bee Day: why is it important?
Remember one thing many of us have forgotten is that the bee is a pollinating insect that plays a decisive role in the preservation of nature, biodiversity and of course the ecological balance of our planet.
However, This day is an action to raise awareness and mobilize all those responsible for the problem of bee decline: politicians, elected officials and farmers who, consciously or not, remain indifferent to the constant decline of bees. When the opportunity arises, everyone talks about it, but few take action. Few take the initiative and take concrete action to save the bees.
In its current form, World Bee Day is not a celebration. Above all, it is an opportunity to sound the alarm and raise awareness everyone on the need to protect bees and their colonies, all varieties combined.
Bee mortality: frightening figures
The extinction of pollinators like bees is a blow to the well-being of people and their planet. A disaster for biodiversity and of course the quality of our food. It should be noted that on a global scale, more than 75% of agricultural products intended for consumption by local populations depend on pollination. While according to IPBES (international experts specializing in biodiversity), last year there was a decrease in bees (domestic and wild) which reached 37%. Therefore, some say that fewer pollinators means less pollination and therefore less biodiversity.
In Spain, the mortality rate of these insects has already reached 30%whereas it was 5% in the 1990s. A decline that has been accelerating for nearly 20 years, at a rate “of about 25% per year, thus exceeding the tolerated average, and falling below 10% .
Why this decline in bees?
In 2014 and according to reports from beekeeping associations, it was still difficult to make a clear assessment of bee mortality. However, one thing is certain: the causes of this problem are numerous. This is also the opinion of all the experts in Agriculture and Food, who are constantly working to take advantage of days like this World Bee Day to ask beekeepers to report cases of bee mortality. An action that should help specialists better understand what is happening in hives.
Let’s look at some of the main threats to bees:
1. Intensive farming
The followers of intensive agriculture have contributed significantly to the mortality of bees. To increase their production, they strive to save their crops by overusing pesticides and insecticides. Practices that alter certain plant molecules. Once the foragers bring them to the hive, these molecules cause the death of the bees, especially the queen. And if the queen dies, the whole colony is threatened. Thus, the supporters of intensive agriculture have spread death in nature and in the hives. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of beekeepers, conservationists and the UN, some pesticides have been bannedlike the Regent, the Gaucho and the Cruiser, but there is still a long way to go.
Bee colonies also die from pathogens, such as viruses, parasites, fungi and certain predators harmful like the Asian hornet.
Bees are also victims of monoculture. An agricultural practice that standardizes the agricultural landscape and impoverishes it. And if biodiversity declines, foraging bees will struggle to feed their colonies at certain times of the year.
4. Climatic phenomena
It is more precisely about climatic changes, whose impact on the living conditions of bee colonies is not the least.
It’s time to act
Faced with all these dangers that endanger the lives of bees, we must act. Let’s start by planting different species of flowers to pollinate, to enrich and diversify the diet of bees, since strengthening their diet is an effective way to preserve these insects and also allows them to fulfill their main function, in addition to helping them to continue to devote themselves to the production of honey . In this sense, World Bee Day is an opportunity to mobilize young and old, plant professionals and nature lovers. A day to sow flowers, plants, trees and shrubs appreciated by bees which will guarantee their survival.