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National Honey Month: Save the Bees

September marks National Honey Month, an annual celebration started by the National Honey Board in the 1980s. This event honors the honeybee and its production of honey. Moreover, this occasion also raises awareness about the challenges faced by honeybees and their critical role in the ecosystem. 

These tiny creatures cross-pollinate the fruits, nuts, and vegetables we consume. They also provide us with honey. The hardworking beekeepers’ continuous work safeguards honeybee colonies and preserves the environment. 

It is called honey month because this liquid gold symbolizes our gratitude towards nature's intricate ecosystems and the hardworking honeybees and beekeepers.

Featured in: September - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

History and Background of National Honey Month

honey on glass jar
Photo by Benyamin Bohlouli on Unsplash

The National Honey Board started this event in September 1989. Several beekeepers had petitioned the US Department of Agriculture to establish the board, and it had been operating for three years when the annual event began.

The group carefully chose the timing of the celebration, as September is the end of the honey collection season in various regions of the United States. Since then, the celebration has become popular, featuring honey tastings, beekeeping workshops, and national educational initiatives. 

In 2009, the US Senate officially recognized National Honey Bee Day, highlighting bees' crucial role in the environment and agriculture.

Bruce Boynton, CEO of the Honey Board, has advanced beekeeping and promoted honey consumption through advocacy. In addition, David Guas, a well-known chef, has demonstrated how to use honey in various ways beyond sweetening food, highlighting its health benefits.

Related Read: Bee Facts, Types of Bees

Why National Honey Month Matters

honey bee on honeycomb
Photo by Meggyn Pomerleau on Unsplash

Firstly, National Honey Month's importance spotlights bees' undeniable contribution to our ecosystem's well-being. Their pivotal role in plant pollination extends beyond just raw honey production. 

Regrettably, their activities have been threatened by various environmental factors, including climate change, habitat loss, and pollution, which ultimately diminishes the quality of their output.

Moving on, it's noteworthy to realize that honey bees improve the yields of pollinated crops1. The annual social gains from these increased yields range significantly between $1.6 and $5.7 billion in the US. The implication is that if their population declines, society will lose billions of dollars.

Digging deeper, recent statistics indicate that the 2022 honey yield in the US totaled 125 million pounds3, marking a one percent decrease from 2021. 

In connection with this, the bee colony count also showed a downward trajectory. The total bee colonies for operations with at least five colonies decreased by 7 percent from 2022 to 20232. This and other statistics highlight the issues we must face and address through efforts like National Honey Month.

Related Read: Are Bees Endangered?, Can Bees Smell Fear?

Efforts and Initiatives

One notable initiative is the Global Bee Campaign by the United Nations Development Programme. The campaign enhances our comprehension of bees' vital role in sustainable development. 

In the United States, a nonprofit organization called the Honeybee Conservancy introduced the Sponsor-A-Hive program, which grants schools and nonprofits to install beehives. 

This initiative raises awareness about honeybee education and stresses their importance in the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, the Australian government has launched the Honey Bee and Pollination Program to preserve the honeybee industry through research and sustainability measures. 

The ultimate goal is to ensure the survival of honeybees so they can continue pollinating crops.

How To Support And Celebrate National Honey Month

bee keeping
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
  • Volunteer with a local beekeeping association to learn about beekeeping and better understand bees. 
  • Buy honey and honey-based products to support the industry.
  • Create a bee-friendly environment in your backyard by planting various flowers, which will help support local bee populations (see: Plants that attract bees)
  • Learn what to do when bee hives are in your house or an unusual place.
  • Additionally, hosting a honey-tasting party or honey-inspired dinner can be an entertaining and educational experience for friends. 
  • Finally, start advocating for bee-friendly policies and spread awareness on the current state of the pollinators. 
  • Share your love for bees and sweet honey by posting bee quotes and honey quotes.

Conclusion

National Honey Month allows us to appreciate the value of honey and the vital role of bees in our ecosystem. Let us support local beekeepers by purchasing honey and planting bee-friendly flowers to help increase honeybee numbers.

National Honey Month FAQs

1. What is National Honey Month?

It is a month-long celebratory and promotional event in the United States that honors the contributions of honey bees and the beekeeping industry to our environment and food system.

2. Why is honey necessary?

Discovered in ceramic jars 5,500 years ago, honey is a natural and beneficial sweetener rich in antioxidants. The golden nectar has antimicrobial properties and can soothe coughs and sore throats.

3. How can honey bees help the environment?

These honey producers pollinate plants, which helps maintain biodiversity and supports the growth of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. They are essential for the reproduction of many flowering plants.

4. Are honey bees in danger?

They face the threats of habitat loss, pesticide exposure, climate change, and diseases, leading to declining honey bee populations, which can have severe implications for our food supply.

5. How can I support National Honey Month?

Start by planting bee-friendly flowers and herbs in your garden, avoiding pesticides, buying local honey, and spreading awareness about the importance of honey bees to your community.

1

Southwick, E. E., & Southwick, L. (1992). Estimating the economic value of honey bees (Hymenoptera: apidae) as agricultural pollinators in the United States. Journal of Economic Entomology, 85(3), 621–633. 

2

USDA & National Agricultural Statistics Service. (2023). Honey Bee Colonies.

3

USDA & National Agricultural Statistics Service. (2023). Honey. 

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by مهدی کردی on Unsplash
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