So, how was that crisp, delicious apple you enjoyed yesterday? Those crunchy cukes & carrots in your salad & avocado slices layered onto your lunch sammie? The snappy zest of broccoli & onions in your stir-fry? Your usual handful (or 5) of yummy almonds? Traditional pumpkin dishes that no holiday table is complete without? Well, the fact they make it to your plate is thanks to the lil' black & yellow striped workers. Collectively, bees pollinate most of our fave fruit & veggie crops (to the tune of about $15 billion in the US alone)...and many crops just won't grow without them.
Starting in about 2006, seemingly healthy bees simply began abandoning their hives en masse, never to return. Beekeepers started sounding the alarm about this mass disappearance, labelled Colony Collapse Disorder. To date, almost 30% of all honey bee colonies have now vanished. The question, of course, is why? "Scientists studying the disorder believe a combination of factors could be making bees sick, including pesticide exposure, invasive parasitic mites, an inadequate food supply and a new virus that targets bees' immune systems," explain the experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "More research is essential to determine the exact cause of the bees' distress."
Although stateside, the US Department of Agriculture has allotted $20 million over the next 5 years for research, every year the disorder is allowed to continue unchecked places more and more of the healthier portion of the food supply at risk. "If we don’t act now to save the honey bee, it might be too late," continues the NRDC. "And no honey bees will mean no more of your favorite fruits and vegetables."
To help kick in resources & help make more people aware of the dire honey bee situation, Burt's Bees recently teamed up with professor Richard Weston on the *Wild for Bees* collection of silk scarves, iPhone & iPad covers, silk-covered journals & a 24-hour Milk & Honey Body Lotion (replete with natural botanical moisturizers that work around the clock).
Proceeds from the collection will be donated to the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) Adopt a Beehive project. For his designs on fabric, Weston used honey bees and wild meadows as the underlying inspiration for his digital print rendered in yellow, green & purple. "My scarf design features bees and bee-friendly plants in a modern and striking print, "adds Weston, dubbing the bees "precious pollinators." "I was delighted to collaborate with Burt's Bees to raise awareness of the plight of the bee. This project can really help in making people aware of the BBKA and the support they give beekeepers who manage the colonies of honey bees."
*Wild for Bees* will be live through September 2012; purchasing info at BurtsBees.co.uk.
- Lesley Scott