World Honey Bee Day was first established in 2009 to help raise awareness of the importance of honey bees, and to pay homage to the beekeepers who harvest honey and support the health of the hives in their care.
Honey bees are distinct from other bee species in that they are general pollinators. While many bee species tend to pollinate only particular native plants, honey bees will pollinate almost any flowering plant. This has made honey bees a popular choice for commercial pollination services, and their contribution to U.S. crop production is valued at around $15 billion!
As their name indicates, honey bees are primarily known for the honey they produce by ingesting and processing nectar. Honey will have different flavors depending on which type of flower the nectar came from, and a healthy hive can produce up to 200 pounds of honey per year! Honey bees also produce beeswax, which is used by humans in the production of many common items, including soap, cosmetics, candles, and furniture polish.
Some activities to celebrate World Honey Bee Day include planting the seeds of flowering plants to help support the honey bee population, and finding ways to incorporate locally-sourced honey in your meals and beverages. For example, if you regularly enjoy sugar in your tea or coffee, try replacing it with honey for a different flavor experience. There are also many recipes available that include honey as an ingredient, so find one that sounds tasty to you, and try it today!