World Bee Day came into effect through a proposal to the UN from Slovenia, that the May 20 should be observed as World Bee Day to maximize awareness about the importance of both bees and beekeeping. After three years, the proposal was accepted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017. May 20 also coincides with the birthday of Slovenian beekeeping pioneer Anton Janša and honors his endless efforts to raise awareness about beekeeping, otherwise known as apiculture.
Why bee friendly?
Hummingbird, wasps, moths, beetles and butterflies are all vital for the process of pollination; however, bees rank as the most important pollinator of them all. The bee experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report a third of the world’s food production to be entirely reliant on bees. Bees are thus essential to ensuring our food security via pollination. Pollinations occurs as bees nestle on the flower of plant to collect pollen and nectar for their colony, and as they do this, pollen becomes attached to their hairs on their body and thereafter, fertilising the next plant they settle on.
According to the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, a multitude of foods depend on bee pollination. These include fruits such as blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, gooseberries, grapes, cranberries and watermelon. Vegetables that are pollinated by bees include of beans, beets, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Moreover, even the cotton you’re wearing or the morning coffee you down before class depends on bee pollination, as the plants these materials are sourced from rely on bees to pollinate them.
Correspondingly, the United Nations categorize bees as fundamental to the second of their seventeen sustainable development goals, Zero Hunger. With food inequity causing malnourishment, our increasing world population size, climate change and pollution, bees offer a sustainable means to supporting our growing population, encouraging biodiversity and fructifying our ecosystem. Concurrently, bees are paramount to securing the livelihood of agricultural workers, as they are necessary for generating a strong crop yield.
Establishing the risks to bees
There are various factors placing bees and other pollinators at risk, yet the main variables threatening the extinction of pollinators consist of pollution, increased use of pesticides in agriculture and climate change. Air pollution has a particular, adverse effect on bees by mixing with the scent molecules of plants and consequently, causing the bees to be slower at finding food for their colony and at pollinating.
UN Environment biodiversity specialist, Marieta Sakalian stated, “Governments need to take the lead…Increasing crop and regional farm diversity as well as targeted habitat conservation, management or restoration is one way of combatting climate change and promoting biodiversity.”
World Bee Day drives home an initiative to help save bees not only to government, but also to citizens across the globe. You can play an active role in preserving our bee population by planting more nectar bearing plants, eliminating the use of harmful pesticides in your garden and raising awareness at your college or community center.