Feed a Bee Celebrates National Honey Bee Day from Coast to Coast

Monday, September 18, 2017
By: Dr. Becky Langer, Bayer North American Bee Care Program, Project Manager

In celebration of National Honey Month, here’s a look back at one of our favorite holidays of the year, National Honey Bee Day!


One of my favorite things about this time of year is all of the honey bee holidays that abound. Not only are we full swing in celebrating September as National Honey Month, but last month we had the opportunity to spend a full day devoted to the honey bee with people across the country on a mission to improve the health of our tiny friends.


Saturday, August 19, marked National Honey Bee Day, which was first commemorated by passionate beekeepers in 2009. Here at Bayer Bee Health, we have an obvious affection for our buzzing friends, and we wanted to share that love with some of our 2017 Feed a Bee forage grant recipients who are helping us reach our goal of planting wildflowers in all 50 states by the end of 2018. For this nationwide event, we partnered with Bethpage State Park of Farmingdale, New York, North Central College of Naperville, Illinois, and the School Park Community Garden in Auburn, California.


Bee flower

Each event was unique to the local flavor of the community. While the Bethpage planting attracted Long Island golf course superintendents and a local Girl Scout troop, the event at North Central College brought together the college’s women’s soccer team and families from the community. The School Park Community Garden invited local students and families to celebrate National Honey Bee Day through several arts-focused educational activities. Each location brought in local beekeepers, who were more than happy to share their knowledge of honey bees, as well as their beekeeping suits and raw honey produced by their own hives.


National Honey Bee Day

These beekeepers also each brought observation hives, so that attendees could get an inside look at the daily lives of honey bees. Children, teenagers and adults alike were mesmerized by the busy comings and goings of the hives.


Students hive blog

Attendees were encouraged to put their new knowldege of pollinators into action by planting forage patches that will help feed the bees! We are so thankful to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a variety of organizations this holiday. At Bethpage, introducing wildflowers to a state park landscape will encourage dual uses of the land and create a space both visitors and bees can enjoy. Additionally, the planting at School Park Community Garden will also serve double purposes – this time as an ongoing educational tool for young community members to continue expanding their knowledge of honey bees. The planting at North Central College removed invasive species from college grounds and introduced native prairie wildflowers. It’s exciting to not only promote pollinator health but also bolster the natural ecosystem!


National Honey Bee Day

We also celebrated the 13 new organizations that were funded by the feed a Bee Steering Committee, bringing the total to 71 forage grantees across the nation.


As we get closer to our goal of planting forage in all 50 states by the end of 2018, I can start to imagine what this united effort to feed our honey bees will look like. Bethpage State Park, North Central College and the School Park Community Garden are only a few sites, and yet we were able to plant thousands of wildflowers there all in one day. I’m eager to see how these sites, along with our other Feed a Bee partners’ sites, have grown and thrived with pollinator activity in a year’s time.


Texas Tech one year later collage
The Department of Plant and Soil Science at Texas Tech University participated in a Feed a Bee planting in October 2016 and has already seen significant growth in their pollinator plot.

Are you looking to take part in this nationwide planting initiative? There’s still time for you to apply for a grant! Rolling applications for forage grants are being accepted for the next round of funding until September 15. See here for more information on how to apply.


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