It's not a secret that honey bees are facing extinction. The causes are varied, including pesticides, parasites and a condition called 'colony collapse disorder,' a dynamic that occurs when the worker bees die off exponentially. In my previous post titled "Obama Spelling Bees From Habitat Hunting," Barack Obama set forth some significant initiatives before leaving office to help save the honey bees. That work continues, with one mantle being handed off to the celebrated actor, Moran Freeman.
Now a Beekeeper
The 81-year celebrity has added yet another title and achievement to his illustrious resume. In addition to actor, filmmaker, director and philanthropist, he has added to the banner of beekeeper. In so doing, he has converted his 124-acre Mississippi ranch into a bee sanctuary.
Freeman's entree into the world of beekeeping launched in 2014, when he elaborated on his beekeeping efforts with Jimmy Fallon during The Tonight Show. As a novice at the time, Freeman discussed tending to bees based on the earth's need for their preservation.
"There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet..." noted Freeman.
Bees are dying off . . .
Freeman joined concerned activists all around the world desperately trying to halt the alarming rate of bees drying off.
Many contribute to the cause by planting flowers for bees to visit and collect nectar from, or by starting petitions to end the use of pesticides which kill off the insects.
Over the last ten years, bee populations have been decreasing steadily across the globe. In the United States alone, there was a exponential 44% loss between 2015 and 2016.
According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), researchers are calling the mass disappearance ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’” and “the number of hives in the United States is now at its lowest point in the past 50 years”. They are still investigating the main cause of colony collapses, but it is widely recognized that environmental damage has a huge negative effect on their ecosystem.
Freeman imported 26 hives full of bees from Arkansas and immediately began feeding them sugar water. He also provides bee-friendly magnolia trees, lavender and clover. Without a bee suit or hat, Freeman boasts he hasn't been bit once.
Going forward, he is determined to only feed his adopted bees. He has no intention to harvest the honey or disrupt the beehives with experimentation. We need more celebrities and politicians to follow suit. They have the ability of creating more awareness than the common man. They can motivating a greater number who can contribute in their own way.
The earth's biological clock is moving rapidly, and if we don't act quickly, the potential loss of the honeybee is imminent. The importance of honey bees isn't just about the bees or the honey. A third of global food production is reliant on pollinators. Most of our fruits and vegetables are dependent on some aspect of the honeybee pollination process.
You can help in simple ways by doing some or all of the following:
- Become a beekeeper.
- Help to protect swarms.
- Plant your garden with bee friendly plants.
- Buy local honey.
- Ask your MP to improve research into honey bee health.
- Find space for a beehive in your garden.
Primary Source: Forbes