Planting parties, garden and farm walks and marches for conservation and pollinator health are taking part in cities around the world. Honey bees contribute as much as 17 billion dollars each year to the US economy by pollinating dozens of fruit and vegetable crops.
Scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture are studying ways to keep honey bees stress-free and healthy. Steven Cook, a scientist with the Agricultural Research Service in Virginia spoke with USDA reporter Patrick O'Leary
"For bee researchers one of the starting points for understanding honeybee health and the stresses that they're exposed to is to conduct very controlled laboratory cage studies where honeybees are exposed to these different stressors. Methodologies including genomics can play a large role in helping us to decipher in great detail the effects on honeybees."
Studying bee genes has so far shown that the Western honey bee has 163 chemical receptors for smell but only 10 for taste. Scientists have discovered the bee has a specific gene for the use of pollen and nectar, and the western honey bee has fewer genes for immunity, detoxification and the development of outer protection.
This weeks celebrations marks the thirteenth consecutive year of bringing greater awareness to the critically important issue of pollinator conservation.
The Urban Farmer Steakhouse is participating in the Pollinator Week festivities on the 22nd with a Happy hour and mural reveal. Colorado State University Beekeepers Association will be answering questions about beekeeping. The Oxford Spa, Seeds Trust fand People & Pollinators Network will also have booths. The hosts will hold a Bee-based dinner on the Urban Farmer patio.
On the 23rd, In Fort Collins, an event focused primarily on a specific order of pollinators: Lepidoptera, a.k.a. butterflies and moths. For a full list of activities go to www.pollinator.org