Whether we realize it or not, those friendly, fuzzy bees buzzing around us are doing us a huge favor. Nearly one-third of human crops are dependent on pollinators like bees, which means that our livelihood is linked to theirs. Bee populations have declined drastically in both North America and Europe in the past decade. This makes bee health a multilateral priority and a focus of both the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture and our EU Open House.
Researching Bee Happiness
The German Ministry of Food and Agriculture founded their technical institute for bee conservation in 2016. The goal is to keep bee populations, both in Germany and around the world, fit and stable. The greatest risk and potential savior to bees would be the agriculture industry. With the rise of monocultures which decrease local floral diversity and abundance as well as the rising use of harmful chemicals, bee populations have been mysteriously disappearing since the 1990's. As such, it is pivotal that protecting bees becomes the priority of not only individuals and politicians, but of farmers too.
Farming is not the only probable cause of the decline in bee colonies. Climate change, biodiversity, and bee diseases were all on the agenda at the International Bee Conference hosted in Berlin this year. The conference brought together nearly 500 bee experts from science, politics, and business to discuss how to work together on bee conservation. “We need the bees. Their protection is a vital necessity,” said Federal Minister Christian Schmidt in his opening speech. “Bees help ensure global food security and sustainable agriculture.”
EU Open House Showcases German and French Beehives
The 2017 EU Open House will highlight the importance of abundant bee populations and how humans contribute to their health. Visitors will be given the opportunity to gaze upon honey bee hives from both Germany and France, the co-host of this year’s event.
Protecting the bees is not only about admiring their products and handiwork such as their beehives or honey, but also about learning how we as consumers and cohabitators can help them thrive. One example of how to keep bees happy is to plant flowers that bloom at different points throughout the year. To attract a spectrum of different pollinators, gardeners can choose plants with a variety of heights, shapes, sizes, and colors. Diversity is key to happy bees! This is why Bayer will provide 10,000 wild flower seed packets at EU Open House as part of their Feed A Bee program.
German-trained beekeeper and University of Maryland Professor Kirsten Traynor will also give out advice and resources at EU Open House on making your garden more bee-friendly and share how attracting bees benefits your garden too.
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