World Bee Day a celebration of pollinators

World Bee Day a celebration of pollinators

Image Credit: Submitted

They buzz around our flowers and vegetable beds, we hold our breath if they get too near and they are a constant in every summer. They are bees, and they play a critical role in our own food supply.

World Bee Day is coming May 20, and The Wilderness Center is partnering with Save Ohio Bees in a day of learning and activities. The celebration of Ohio bees will be from 4-7 p.m. at The Wilderness Center in Wilmot.

“It’s a day to learn about the nature of bees and how to help them thrive,” said Tracy Teuscher, president and founder of Save Ohio Bees. “There are more than 500 species of bees in Ohio alone, and many of them are threatened with extinction. They are beautiful, amazing, wondrous creatures, and there is so much to learn about them.”

“There will be inside and outdoor activities,” said Tiffany Leeper, development coordinator at The Wilderness Center. “All ages can come and learn about pollinators and their habitat. Our naturalists will be here helping to identify pollinators in the field and show us how to track their flight, which is really fascinating.”

“Most people think of honey bees as a native species, but they are actually a naturalized species from Europe,” Teuscher said. “They are our honey producers, and beekeepers can safely and sustainably siphon off some of their production every year.”

Teuscher is especially enthusiastic about the natural bumblebee population.

“They are the superheroes of the bee world,” she said. “We really want to celebrate them and help people understand more about them. They are a keystone species, which means they are a climate change barometer. When we see them struggling, that’s a major indicator of rapid warming for us, and that’s a problem. They are struggling, but they are also very resilient. If we are careful and take steps to protect and aid in their recovery, they should be able to thrive once again. They are social creatures with complex behaviors and wonderful to observe.

“Squash bees are a species that have evolved in tandem with squash varieties. So they pollinate zucchini, pumpkins and other squash-producing plants.”

Children who visit The Wilderness Center for World Bee Day will learn about native plants that are beneficial to pollinating species and how they are closely connected to one another. “The younger visitors will be able to plant seedlings of native Ohio species to take home with them,” Leeper said.

There are many things people can do to help bees right in their own backyards, Teuscher explained. “Whenever possible, even if you only have a small patio container garden, planting native Ohio flowers, trees and shrubs on your property is a great start. Loss of habitat is a major cause of decreasing pollinator populations. You would be amazed at how much impact a single plant can make.”

Avoiding the use of pesticides is another way to help bees recover and thrive. “Pesticide use has increased significantly in the past 50 years,” Teuscher said. “They cause bee deaths or weaken their systems so it is more difficult to maintain populations. They lose resilience.”

Teuscher suggested gardeners seek out ways to maintain an attractive lawn without the use of harmful chemicals. “You can also leave at least part of your garden a little bit messy,” she said. “Seventy percent of bees nest in the ground and depend on loose ground cover and naturally occurring mulch.”

Mowing at a 4- to 5-inch height also helps bees, she said.

There is no charge to attend World Bee Day celebrations at The Wilderness Center, but you should register for the event at www.wildernesscenter.org. Learn more about bees and how to help them at www.saveohiobees.org.


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