Honeybees make more than honey.
These busy little workers, along with other pollinators, are essential for the production of 35% of the worlds food crops from almonds to zucchini. Honeybees, butterflies, insects and even bats provide a vital pollinator service to our ecosystems. Over the last decade, honeybees have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Multiple factors such as pesticides, habitat destruction, drought, parasites and climate change have all contributed to the substantial loss of pollinators, both wild and managed. In 2015 alone, the United States suffered a 44% winter death rate loss of managed honeybees, far more than can possibly regenerate in a single season. Honeybees and pollinators are not only good to our ecosystem, but are critical to the American agriculture economy, adding more than $15 billion annually. Unfortunately, honeybee health is in great decline.
Harbor Sweets is committed to recognizing issues that are important to its customers. Its new mission-inspired Gather Chocolate draws the attention to the growing plight of the honeybees and pollinators. As scientists and beekeepers look for a solution, Harbor Sweets has pledged to donate two and a half percent of gross sales from Gather Chocolate to the Pollinator Partnership, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to study and protect pollinators.
There are many ways that the public can help save the honeybee and pollinators so that they can continue to survive. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Reduce the use of pesticides and chemicals used on lawns and in gardens.
- Plant a “pollinator friendly” garden or window box using flowers and herbs that attract bees and butterflies. http://www.wildflower.org/collections/
- Join the Pollinator Partnership and help support the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC).
- Research the issue and spread the word in your community and to your congressman.
- Create a bee bath. Fill a shallow container of water with pebbles or twigs for the bees to land on while drinking. Make sure to keep the container full of fresh water so that they know they can return to the same spot every day.
- Install beehives on your property that are delivered and managed by beekeepers such as Best Bees, who not only installs and maintains beehives, but is also deeply involved in the study of Colony Collapse Disorder.
Remember, honeybees pollinate the plants that allow you to enjoy a delicious orange, a cup of coffee and most of the food on your table. Please do what you can to protect and support them.