CropLife America (CLA) recognizes National Honey Bee Day, taking place August 16, 2014, and reminds the public of the importance of supporting healthy bee populations. This year’s theme, "Sustainable Gardening Begins with Honey Bees," stresses the role that habitat and forage can play in supporting bee health.
In a June 20 Presidential Memorandum, President Obama indicated that multiple factors can play a role in maintaining bee health, including high quality bee nutrition, proper use of pesticides, availability of forage lands, control of parasites and pathogens, and improving genetic diversity. “Even as pollinator health is being discussed at the Executive level of the government, we can all take steps to help honey bees and other beneficial insects. It can start right in your own backyard with a pollinator-friendly garden,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA.
Recent overwintering loss surveys indicate improvements in managed honey bee colony population levels. Survey results for the 2013/2014 winter released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Bee Informed Partnership, and Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) on May 14, 2014, show overwintering losses of 23.2 percent of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S., compared to 30.5 percent reported for the 2012/2013 winter. The 2014 self-reported survey reflects responses from nearly 7,200 beekeepers in the U.S. who collectively manage 21.7 percent of the 2.6 million bee colonies in the country.
“Pollinators are a key component of U.S. agriculture and, no matter your favorite food, we all benefit from healthy bees,” continued Vroom, “National Honey Bee Day is an important part of helping to raise awareness of the contributions they bring to our food supply.”
For more information on how pollinators impact U.S. agriculture, visit the America’s Heartland pollinator resource page, available online at http://americasheartland.org/pollinators/index.htm. For more information about pollinator health and the crop protection industry, visit http://www.croplifeamerica.org/pesticide-issues/protecting-our-pollinators.