Since 2018, the United Nations has promoted the celebration of World Bee Day on May 20 - celebrating the small pollinators and their importance to the entire globe.

Why is World Bee Day on May 20?

May 20 marks the birthday of Anton Janša, a beekeeper generally known as the pioneer of modern apiculture. The Slovenian wrote two guides on beekeeping, advocated for pasture placement of hives, and developed a stacking block structure for beekeeping. In  Vollständige Lehre von der Bienenzucht (A Full Guide to Beekeeping), Janša said:

Among all God's beings there are none so hard working and useful to man with so little attention needed for its keep as the bee.

Honey & Beekeeping in the Pacific Northwest

With our strong agriculture, the Pacific Northwest relies heavily on its pollinators, including its bees. One of the best byproducts of honeybees is their honey, an important commodity. Here's some facts (provided by BeesWiki):

  • Oregon is ranked 8th in the nation for honey production; Washington State is ranked 11th and Idaho 12th.
  • The most popular bee in the Pacific Northwest is the Italian honey bee (A. mellifera ligustica), with Carniolan bees (Apis mellifera carnica) also being used frequently.
  • Pacific Northwest honey is harvested in the summer, though exactly which month depends on the specific region and climate.
  • Common honey from Washington includes blueberry, buckwheat, fireweed, orange blossom, raspberry blossom, sweet clover, and wild blackberry.
  • Common honey from Oregon includes wildflower, clover, spring blossom, blackberry, meadowfoam, fireweed, buckwheat, and carrot.
  • Idaho's common honeys are wildflower and clover blends.
  • Idaho's beekeepers commonly ship their bees out on rental to California for pollinating almond crops.
  • Oregon beekeepers must register with the state if they own five or more hives.

Bee Research in the PNW

Washington State University (WSU) operates a Honey Bee and Pollinator program, with a Honey Bee and Pollinator Research, Extension, and Education Facility in Othello, Washington. It is the primary PNW facility supporting academic research and breeding programs.

More information on World Bee Day

To learn more about this annual celebration, visit:

 

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