We’ve all heard “Save the Bees” almost the same amount of times we’ve heard “Save the Turtles”- but let’s take a moment to really talk about the impact bees have on our ecosystem. Being a keystone species, they play a critical role in pollinating our crops and generally being an important factor in almost every food web because of the job they carry out. They are important commercially for farming practices worldwide and it is estimated that about one-third of global food production requires animal pollination and that 80–90 per cent of this role is carried out by honeybees (We Need Bees).
The climate crisis whiplash phase we are currently living through is disrupting more than we can ever imagine. Along with rising water levels, ecosystem habitats, and consequently animals, are being constantly overwhelmed and deranged, with bees being no exception. The rain limits the ability of spring bees to collect food for their offspring and super hot summers reduce flowering plants which is associated with fewer summer bees the next year. Warmer winters also lead to reduced numbers of some bee species.
With that being said, the importance of bees is yet to be talked about in our school curriculums, even in classes like Environmental Science, the specifics tend to be blurred upon. And so, green clubs such as SAVE (Students Against Violating the Environment) have taken it upon themselves to spread the word, this time inspired by the New Jersey Beekeepers Association.
The CJBA (Central Jersey Beekeeping Association) is a branch of the New Jersey Beekeepers Association whose focus is to promote beekeeping throughout the state. The CJBA serves Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington counties.
Their mission is to:
- Promote and support all aspects of beekeeping in Central Jersey
- Educate the general public about the benefits and importance of beekeeping
- Dispel myths and misinformation concerning the honeybee
- Promote the honeybee and the beekeeping industry
- Provide resources and communication to the beekeeping community
After meeting with Secretary, Mrs. Angela Juffey through emails, I reached out to the organization to give our club a presentation about bees.
“My role, as Secretary and Beekeeper, is to support the CJBA’s mission. While having 14 hives, I reach out to my community and give Honeybee presentations when requested. When the weather is cooperative, my “girls” travel with me in an Observation Hive to various garden clubs, schools, libraries, and Harvest Festivals.” – Mrs. Juffey
The presentation not only covered the role bees play in the environment, but their different types, roles in the hive and even how to become a beekeeper yourself.
Some of the highlights of the presentation included:
- Specifics on bees, The Queen, Workers and Drones
- Honey bee collapse
- Colony Collapse Disorder, Cons and how it happens
- Raw honey vs. Pasteurized Honey (Ms. Juffey does collect raw honey from her beloved bees)
- Honey Bee diseases, pests and predators
- Bee behavior and communication
- How to be a friend to the bees:
- Plant bee friendly wildflowers and shrubs: crocus and snowdrop, lavender, thyme, sage, etc.
- Bird bath for thirsty bees
- Dandelions have a lot of nectar for bees, so do not pick them near bee hives!!!
- Make your own bee house – hollow bamboo shoots in a flower vase
- Become a beekeeper
- Always face hives east to get the bees out as soon as sun rises
As the Vice President of SAVE Cub, on behalf of all of us, I’d like to thank NJ Beekeepers Association and the wonderful Ms. Juffey for such an insightful presentation.
Take a look at https://www.njbeekeepers.org/ to learn more!