National Pollinator Week: How Beekeepers Help Pollinators Thrive


Today marks the official kick off to National Pollinator Week, and our hive is buzzing in celebration! This is the time of year that we really get to enjoy the bounties of fresh produce and beautiful flowers and are reminded of just how essential pollinators are to our planet.

Pollinator Week’s history began nearly fifteen years ago when the U.S. Senate designated that a week in June be dubbed “National Pollinator Week,” bringing about greater awareness of the plight of our declining pollinators. Along with the humble honey bee, Pollinator Week celebrates the invaluable work of other important pollinators like butterflies, birds, bats and beetles. In the years since its inception, National Pollinator Week has evolved into an entire month of celebration both domestically and internationally that brings together communities on behalf of our smallest and hardest working creatures.

Why is it so important to celebrate our pollinators? Well, according to our friends over at the Pollinator Partnership, approximately 75% of flowering plants need pollination help from animals (and, yes, we said animals). While we typically think of beneficial insects (bees, wasps, beetles, moths, and butterflies) as pollinators, around 1,000 of all pollinators are actually vertebrates, including birds, bats, and other small mammals, like lemurs. The combined efforts of these pollinators generate nearly $20 billion worth of products for the U.S. annually – incredible!

So, what, exactly, is pollination? The vital work of pollination is the fertilization of a flowering plant. Pollination occurs when pollen is transferred from the anthers of a flower to the ovules of that or another flower. Pollinators visit millions of blossoms in their lifetimes and pollinate a wide range of crops. Without the honey bees’ pollination work, the quantity and quality of many crops would be reduced, and some would not yield at all. We can thank pollinators for most of our favorite fruits, vegetables and legumes, such as apple, cherries, cucumbers, sunflowers and almonds (which are 100% dependent on honey bees for pollination).

The theme for National Pollinator Week 2024 is "Vision 2040: Thriving ecosystems, economies, and agriculture," which, according to the Pollinator Partnership, “urges us to envision a future where pollinators not only survive but thrive.” What some people may not realize is that the coexistence of beekeepers and all pollinators - including native bees, birds, butterflies, and honey bees - is what sustains ecosystems - and humanity.

We believe the beekeepers who manage pollinators are unsung heroes who have evolved their practices using research and innovation to protect bees, habitats and local economies. Check out this Celebrating Beekeeping video to see some of these practices in action.

Looking to do more? Here are our top five ways to help honey bees and other pollinators:

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard.
  • Reduce or limit the use of chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn or garden while plants are in bloom.
  • Bees are thirsty. Put a shallow basin of fresh water with marbles or rocks in it for the bees to land on outside your home.
  • Donate to an organization dedicated to helping protect and promote honey bees and other pollinators.
  • Support beekeepers and their essential work by purchasing and enjoying honey and made-with-honey products.

However, you choose to celebrate, we hope you make this National Pollinator Week a sweet one!