Honey bees have been admired by people the world over for their industriousness and order. The colony is run by a single queen, and the rest of the population is made up of worker bees and drones. The workers are female, and the drones are male. A standard colony is made up of around 30,000 honey bees, but can be much larger or smaller than that.
Honey bees are only one species out of 20,000 bee species on earth, but they have become the most talked about as of late because of their importance to crop pollination, and because of their sharp population declines in the last decade. In fact, the populations in North America have dwindled by around 50 percent since 2006, and the term "Colony Collapse Disorder" was created to explain the harrowing phenomenon. It seems that a number of factors, including poisonous pesticides and environmental factors like climate change have caused the collapse of honey bee populations. Whatever the case, honey bees must be saved. Currently, one-third of America's crops are pollinated by honey bees. If we keep losing bees at alarming rates, we could have a complete food crisis on our hands.
There are a number of things you can do to encourage the growth of bee numbers in your area. First, plant more flowers and plants to encourage bees to come over. Hint: they really like lavender, Hyssop, and sunflowers, among many other varieties! Second, don't use harsh pesticides. Third, buy raw, local honey to encourage beekeepers to continue producing. May we suggest Hawaiian Rainbow Bees? Fourth, if you're really dedicated, start a small hive of your own! Remember, bees aren't out to get you, and beekeeping can be a great lesson in respect and sustainability for children.
Help us to protect the honey bees, if not only for their sake, then for the sake of our planet.