Honeybees are vital to human survival.
From the US Department of Agriculture website, it is estimated that there are over 100 crops in the US that rely on pollinators. Those crops include almonds, non-citrus fruit trees, berries, melons, and squash. The honeybee adds 18 billion dollars to crop production. Honeybees are critical to the US food production system. This statement from BBC.com sums up the importance of the honeybee.
"We may lose all the plants that bees pollinate, all of the animals that eat those plants and so on up the food chain. Which means a world without bees could struggle to sustain the global human population of 7 billion. Our supermarkets would have half the amount of fruit and vegetables."
And the following quote,
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
These statements seem a bit overly doom and gloom. However, when you begin to think about how many flowers must be pollinated so your apples are on your grocery store shelves the importance of the honeybee becomes more focused. There are other pollinators, butterflies, bumblebees, mason bees all solitary insects that do the job. But when you realize that a typical honeybee hive has between 40,000 to 80,000 bees and at least half of that population is out pollinating the farm fields of almonds and soybeans you realize that those estimates above might not be so outlandish. Without the honeybee human civilization would face a food crisis.
The unfortunate truth is honeybees are in decline and have been since the 80’s. It was in 1987 that varroa mites were first detected in the US and is one of the major contributors to the decline of honeybees in the United States. The mite is parasitic and feeds of the larvae and the adult bees in a hive. The feeding of the mite causes the individual bee to become weak and susceptible to disease. A weakened honeybee is also less likely to make it through the winter months causing colonies to collapse and die. While additional stressors such as loss of habitat, use of pesticides, toxins in the environment and other pests contribute to the loss of the honeybee, varroa is a primary threat.
I have been keeping honeybees with my father for the last three years on an acre of land. We currently have six hives operational and have learned so much over this time. Honeybees fascinate me, and I have spent an unknown number of hours watching YouTube videos, reading books on honeybees and beekeeping, and talking with more experienced beekeepers to learn as much as I possibly can. I believe that I am ready to take the next step and move into running a larger apiary. To do this I need to acquire a larger tract of land, buy more equipment, and purchase a few more hives to increase my bee genetic diversity.
In addition to operating the apiary and production of honey and bees wax related products, I would like to open the operation up to educational opportunities to help the public gain a deeper understanding of what bees mean for human civilization and the ability for our society to feed itself. I believe that developing a respect for the honeybee and its role in food production will motivate people to demand changes that protect the bees. Education is the avenue for understanding and understanding leads to changes in thoughts and actions. The chance to see inside a hive, watch the bees flying and pollinating, tasting honey fresh from a beehive can only lead to a respect for an insect that is so important to our world. In addition to educating the public, I plan on reaching out to local universities and participate in research for better treatments against pests and increasing the health of bee colonies.
First, I ask for prayers that my desire and intent are in line with Gods will. Second, I ask you to consider donating to my campaign to make this dream a reality.