With Thanksgiving just around the corner, there are many things to be thankful for, including honeybees! Honeybees play a very large role in our daily lives.
In the 1600’s, Pilgrims and Indians celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Did you know that honey bees were originally brought to the United States by Pilgrims? Records indicate the first hive of bees was shipped from England and arrived in Virginia in 1622. These bees would have been very helpful to early settlers because of their pollination services. When bees pollinate, they fertilize plants. These fertilized plants will then produce fruits and vegetables. These foods would have been very important to the Pilgrims. Also, the bees would have produced a wonderful natural sweetener!
Honey bees are still beneficial to our food supply today. Across the United States, honey bees pollinate over 90 different food crops and about 1/3 of our food – that’s like every third bite! Without bees, many of our favorite Thanksgiving dinner foods would be gone. Do you like cranberry sauce, beans, squash, sweet potatoes, or pumpkin pie? Without bees, we would have hardly any of these foods. Even the butter for your rolls and whipped cream for your pie would be scarce. Thanksgiving dinner would be pretty boring without honey bees!
Because bees are so important, we must do what we can to help them. Planting bee-friendly flowers, buying honey from beekeepers, and telling about the importance of honey bees are great ways to help! This Thanksgiving, let’s be sure to be thankful for the wonderful gift of bees!