To Bee or Not to Bee?

To Bee or Not to Bee?

Bees play an essential role in helping much of the food we eat to grow. Read on to discover why these buzzing creatures are so important, then celebrate World Bee Day on May 20!


So you know bees produce honey, but did you know that they are vital to our existence?

Imagine a world without honey, apples, almonds, or coffee. We know – sounds pretty horrible right? Well, if it weren’t for our buzzing friends called bees, we wouldn’t have these wonderful foods in our life. Bees don't just produce honey and other products such as beeswax and pollen, but they also help produce nearly three-quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food. In other words, every third spoonful of food you eat depends on bees and their ability to pollinate!

Since bees play such a vital role in agriculture, their ability to pollinate crops has a direct effect on the livelihood of many farmers and workers in the agricultural industry. Just how much worth to bees provide? According to some estimates, between $235 and 577 billion are produced by bees. In other words? Bees make a lot of money - and a lot of food!

If it weren’t for bee pollination, our ecosystem wouldn’t be able to survive. Bees are essential for preserving and protecting ecological balance and biodiversity in nature, both for plants and animals. Honey bees, in particular, thrive on feeding off a diverse variety of plants.

Bees act as indicators of the state of our environment. If there aren’t any bees in an area, something is wrong. If there are too many bees in one area, something is equally wrong. We can observe bees, their health, and evaluate changes in the environment.


Bees are becoming endangered and their populations are decreasing, while our agricultural demands are increasing. In 2017, bee populations declined by 33% in the USA and by 12% in Europe. What has caused this “pollinator crisis”?

There are many reasons why bees are dying, including viral infections of queen bees, who lead the hives (i.e. without the queen bee, we don’t have bees), as well as pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture which either kill bees or prevents them from pollinating in a certain area. Urbanization has caused a reduction in agricultural spaces and bees no longer have places to build their hives. Climate changes have also negatively affected bees, forcing them out of areas where they no longer can survive. Finally, increased global trade of low-quality single-variety honey means bee colonies are often overworked and malnourished since honey bee colonies are healthier and stronger when they have access to pollen from many different flower varieties.

bees honey comb


So how can you help save the bees? Here are just a few ways to aid our buzzing community:

1. Sponsor a hive. Support the construction and maintenance of local bee colonies by donating to a hive. You local bees will not only thank you, but you'll also be helping your local food community since bees help pollinate plants, flowers, and vegetables.

2. Plant a bee-friendly garden. Not only will planting flowers and other bee-friendly plants make your garden look beautiful, it will also give your bee neighbors something to feed on. This is especially important in urban areas where bees need a resting place to stop and enjoy a snack!

3. Support small honey producers. At Eataly, we offer a variety of honey products from small honey producers in Italy and beyond. Trust us - this isn’t your average honey! From orange blossom to wildflower, discover the sweet varieties and all the ways you can enjoy them. By buying artisanal honey you're supporting healthy bee colonies and those who help maintain them.

To learn more about how you can help the bees, visit The Honeybee Conservancy!


What is World Bee Day? Proposed by the Slovenian government several years ago, World Bee Day is a global initiative that takes place on May 20 to raise awareness of the dangers that bees face and the importance of bees to our planet. The day May 20 was chosen because it is the birth date of Anton Janša a Slovenian pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the greatest authorities on the subject of bees.


Happy World Bee Day!