Mention bees and most people have visions of Winnie The Pooh, all sorts of delicious honey and, unfortunately, getting stung by one of these insects. Honey bees, however, are actually much more involved in our lives even if most people don’t realize it. Their pollination efforts help support foods crops worldwide from apples to almonds, vanilla and squash. In Europe alone these bees also account for 80 percent of the wildflowers seen every year. The problem for these little buzzers is that their numbers are shrinking rapidly and dangerously in certain areas due to climate change, loss of habitat and use of pesticides. Luckily, one town and its people are stepping up to help.
Honey bees have found a growing number of friends in Dryden, a Canadian city in Ontario. In fact, this city of 7,749 people recently declared next April and May as Honeybee Appreciation Months. The proclamation is designed to provide much-needed support for the area’s honeybee population and the idea is apparently catching on as cities and towns in northwestern Ontario and even in the United States. The accompanying education and action program is designed to be a win-win for the bees and the local municipalities and their residents as certain bee habitats are preserved, reducing carbon emissions tied to clearing these areas, while also supporting crop and flower production. The Dryden effort also includes spearheading a Junior Beekeepers Course as well as the Rooftop Beekeeping’ initiative. In a sweet deal for participating businesses, they get to keep 100 percent of the honey generated on their rooftops.
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