Celebrating Earth Day’s 20th Anniversary: Bee Edition

Posted April 22, 2020 by Alyssa Stahr

Due to our longstanding partnership with the National Honey Board, naturally we have learned a lot about the hardworking bees that help nurture our planet. It’s only fitting that we would honor bees during Earth Day’s 20th anniversary theme: Climate Action. 

According to EarthDay.org, on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans “protested environmental ignorance and demanded a new way forward for our planet.” Now, 20 years later, we’re taking a look at one of the most important insects that helps move the planet forward in a positive way — the honey bee!

Help us join in the Earth Day buzz by taking a look at our top 10 favorite facts about the bee:

  1. Bees are responsible for a ton of food! One-third of the U.S. diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants, and honey bees are responsible for an astounding 80% of that process. 
  2. Bees are a thirsty bunch. Try out your amateur beekeeping skills by putting a shallow basin of fresh water with marbles or rocks in it for bees to land outside your home.
  3. Bees don’t just produce honey. They can also produce substances like propolis (bee glue that can be found in some chewing gum), royal jelly (which is sometimes used as a dietary supplement), beeswax (which can be used for candles or paints) and honeycomb (which can be eaten in its own right). 
  4. The Queen Bee actually has no control of the hive even though she’s the largest bee in the colony. Her sole function is to serve as the reproducer, laying her own weight in eggs every couple of hours — up to 3,000 per day!
  5. Girl power comes in the form of Worker Bees! They are all female, amounting to about 60,000 per colony. While they do all the work — collecting pollen and nectar, making honey — there is one female function they don’t have to worry about: making babies.
  6. Each average Worker Bee will only produce about one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. Every bee counts!
  7. Male honey bees do not have stingers. Those are only designated for the females. 
  8. Humans first known record of honey was 8,000 years ago. An ancient cave painting in Spain shows honey harvesting, and we’ve been enjoying its sweetness ever since.
  9. The poor Drone Bee, a male bee, is in competition with other Drones to mate with the Queen. Success equals eventual death. Unsuccess equals banishment and social isolation, with no return allowed to the hive. They are stingerless and only live about 90 days whether they mate with the Queen or not.
  10. There are more than 300 unique types of honey in the United States alone, each with a different taste. The kind of honey produced depends on the flowers that grow near the bee. From eucalyptus to coffee — there’s truly a taste for everyone.

Want to help the bees this Earth Day? Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden or yard. Use all-natural, chemical-free products and fertilizers, which can be harmful to bees. The National Honey Board suggests planting herbs like lavender, sage or thyme, perennials like geranium, crocus or snowdrops, or annuals such as sunflower, poppy or calendula for optimum bee-friendly pollination. 

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