Happy World Bee Day
May 19, 2023
Back in 2017, May 20th was officially declared World Bee Day. It is a day dedicated to celebrating bees as well as sharing information and education on how people can support a healthy bee population and why it matters!
Here at Good Harvest Organic Farm, we have our very own hive of European Honey Bees. We practice natural beekeeping which by definition is: “A gentler bee-friendly approach that prioritizes care for the bees, allowing them to build natural honey comb and to harvest only when sufficient honey is available. This results in healthy bees and delicious raw honey!” (source).
We decided to pursue natural beekeeping a couple of years back to help pollinate our flowering crops! Our bees help to pollinate a variety of plants we grow, including but not limited to: strawberries, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, and even hot chilis. We noticed a change in the pollination and crop quality almost immediately, and the last two harvests the honey has even had a mild strawberry taste to it!
Our bees live in a cozy drop bar hive on one of our farms in Woombye. We chose this type of hive specifically because it allows us to harvest the honey without disturbing the main hive! It is currently one of the most effective types of natural beehives available, which means it’s less stressful for the bees when we harvest honey.
We typically harvest in the spring or summer when the hive is full of honey. To ensure the ongoing health of our hive, we generally only take about one third of the available honey.
Worldwide, bees are hugely important to our food security. It’s estimated that approximately 90% of plant species depend on bees and other pollinators to reproduce, and approximately 75% of the food crops humans grow worldwide are entirely dependent on bees! These numbers will have ongoing implications for food security worldwide as bee numbers are declining, especially as the human population continues to grow.
What Can You Do to Send Some Love to the Bees?
1. Create a garden at home with flowering bee-friendly plants to encourage bees to come to your yard! A well planned garden can provide a long-lasting and secure source of the nectar, pollen and building materials that bees need to thrive. This is a great article to get you started.
2. Buy your honey from a local grower who uses natural, bee-friendly harvesting methods. Much of the honey you see at the shops is harvested in a way that harms the bees, and it’s often adulterated or processed after the fact. Buying local, raw, unprocessed honey has a plethora of health benefits for you, helps the bees, plus supports local small business.
3. Support local sustainable agriculture. By buying certified organic produce from local farms, you are supporting a healthy environment for people and bees alike. Things like pesticides & herbicides are especially detrimental to bees, so staying away from conventionally sprayed produce is a great step to support bees.
4. Spread the word about bees and why they’re so important for us! Many people don't understand how crucial they are for our food security or that they are needed for us to keep enjoying flowering crops (such as strawberries and cucumbers) well into the future!
If you’re still interested in learning more about bees and World Bee Day, you can visit the official World Bee Day Australia website here!
Remember, by supporting local organic sustainable agriculture, you’re supporting bees. Bees work hard for us every single day by pollinating so many of our delicious food crops, so do your part and express a little gratitude to bees today!