MISSOURI — Beekeepers are an understated part of Missouri’s agricultural economy because they contribute products such as honey and help to maintain populations of local pollinators.

Honey Bees are the driving force behind the beekeeping industry and World Honey Bee Day celebrates everything that they contribute to the economy and environment.

KMZU’s Dan Watson spoke with Phil Duncan, President of the Midwestern Beekeepers Association, to find out more about how bees and beekeepers supply local economies with their products and why keeping pollinators around can benefit more than just a bottom line.

Click below to listen to their conversation, which aired Friday on KMZU.

 

Photo: Missouri Department of Conservation

World Honey Bee Day was created in 2009 to shed light on all of things that Honey Bees do besides providing honey.

“It recognizes the honey bee and beekeepers that tend the hive. It also encourages everyone to enjoy and purchase locally grown honey,” Duncan said, “and a very important of the day focuses on teaching the general public about honey bees and the need to provide the bees with a supportive environment.”

According to Duncan, bees and other pollinators are responsible for a large portion of food production around the world.

“Well Honey Bees in themselves are not the only plant pollinators. They’re one of significant importance, especially here in the United States.  According to some sources, one third of our global food supply is pollinated by bees.”

Since bees play a crucial role in food production, residents are encouraged to plant flowers and other flora that provide nectar and pollen. There is even a common pollen source that bees can utilize which humans tend to eliminate quickly.

“. . .and one of the early sources for Honey Bees each spring are plants that most people try to kill off, the dandelion,” Duncan stated.

Another way that locals can help maintain native bee populations is use caution when spraying insecticides on their crops to ensure that the chemical is not harmful to the bees. This is especially important for fruit producers since their crop relies on pollinators to grow the fruit.