Aug 08.16

Join us for National Honey Bee Day!

Charity Pot >> LUSH Life >> Community

August 17th is National Honey Bee Day and we're creating a buzz and celebrating with our Charity Pot partner, Honey Love!

Meet our Charity Pot partner, HoneyLove

In the spring of 2011, HoneyLove co-founders Chelsea and Rob McFarland would have never guessed that a swarm of honey bees showing up in their backyard would provide the inspiration for what has quickly become their life's passion—a non-profit organization committed to conserving honey bees. Fast-forward to 2013 and HoneyLove has created an impressive local organization with a global footprint.

HoneyLove, a LUSH Charity Pot partner

Why Urban Beekeeping?

Honey bees working on the front lines of our food production system are in real trouble. Since 2006, the news has been saturated each spring with reports of honey bee colonies dying in record numbers and each year the prognosis grows worse. Along with the media attention comes a great deal of speculation about what's killing the bees. A class of pesticides called neonicotinoids has been blamed for disrupting the system, causing the 50% loss commercial beekeeping is experiencing lately. We also hear about everything from high fructose corn syrup and habitat loss to pesticides and parasites. The truth is, it doesn't seem to be any one thing solely responsible but rather a combination of factors that threaten the honey bee. The bees don’t need humans, but humans certainly need the honey bee.

The bigger, exciting news is that there is real help for the honey bee and it can be found in your own backyard or rooftop—the urban environment. Cities provide perhaps the best honeybee habit available. Between our home gardens, landscaping, green spaces and parks—even the weeds growing along the cracks in our sidewalks—bees have more than enough forage (pollen and nectar) to provide for themselves. It’s no small benefit that most of the forage they find in our cities is pesticide-free! Beekeepers around the world, from Paris and London to Manhattan and Montreal, have recognized this advantage and begun to keep bees absolutely everywhere from the rooftops of hotels, restaurants and apartment buildings to residential backyards, community gardens, public parks and uninhabited municipal spaces. And these city bees are thriving.

Urban beekeeping at work

To ensure that we will have bees to pollinate our food crops, we must continue to make our cities sanctuaries for honey bees, expand on this opportunity and encourage a new generation of beekeepers who will join the fight for the honey bees’ survival. By making our cities more bee-friendly, we also make them more human-friendly. Fewer pesticides and more plants are a win-win for both species.

You don't have to don a beekeeper suit and pick up a smoker to help bees. (Although many do. More and more cities have groups like Honeylove.org that teach people how to become urban beekeepers.) One of the best ways you can contribute to the health and well being of honey bees is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. By creating habitat and forage, you're contributing to the health of the entire ecosystem. In order to make your yard and garden a healthy environment for bees and pollinators, you must shun the pesticides. Many, if not most, of the pesticides sold for consumer use are toxic to bees and should be avoided at all costs. And if you should have a chance encounter with honey bees, whether a swarm or because they've moved into somewhere they are unwanted, please call a professional bee rescuer instead of calling an exterminator. Your future will thank you for it.

Join us for National Honey Bee Day at LUSH - we're throwing a HoneyLove party!

Every one of our retail shops will be a hive of activity this Saturday so stop by and find out more about the insect responsible for more than a 1/3 of the food we eat, meet bee keepers and honey bee enthusiasts, and learn what you can do about the plight of the honey bee. Can't make it in person? There are tons of ways you can participate online too! You can check out the full event details here, or contact your local LUSH shop.

Author Bio

Rob McFarland is a creative director, social media strategist and organic gardener. He co-founded HoneyLove, a LUSH Charity Pot partner, with his wife Chelsea in 2011.

Vanessa Lamont

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