I haven’t quite recovered from World Bee Day (May 20th) and here it is, World Honey Bee Day, which coincides with National Honey Bee Day, as it’s practiced in the USA. Clever that they both fall on the same third Saturday of August. But both of the August honey bee days compete with the bigger, far more important May 20th world bee day. (And mid-way between these celebrations is Don’t Step on a Bee Day.)
I’ll not complain that bees are celebrated twice each year with special holidays – schools closed, solemn parades, TV specials. At dinners across the land, Einstein will be invited to stand up and say a few words about the plight of mankind if the bees all die. Meanwhile, the little pollinators go about their tireless sacrifices, pollinating with careless abandon, assuring that the apples and cherries are there for all those pies baked on Bee Day. The whole world celebrates.
Or am I the only one who has heard of this holiday?
I asked colleagues if they will party for the bees, but they looked at me as if I’m weird, maybe a beekeeper or something. They seem oblivious and are a bit surprised to learn that there is such a holiday. Same with my calendar, which doesn’t recognize Bee Day – it’s not pre-printed on any of my calendars, in fact. Maybe the publishers haven’t recognized the importance of the day. (Halloween is on the calendar. And Christmas. Why not Bee Day?)
In the USA, the holiday started out as National Honey Bee Awareness Day about ten years ago. That worked out so well that they had to drop ‘Awareness’ from the name. (How can you build awareness for an insect that everyone is already aware of?)
If you are wondering how one celebrates August 19th’s Honey Bee Day, I found a website that offers some suggestions. Here a couple of their ideas and my reasons why these are bad ideas:
1) Collect local wildflower seeds and spread them to where nothing is growing. Me: It sounds like a good idea – in mid-August, you sow your wild seed ‘where nothing is growing’ – like on a highway or in a lake. But seriously, planting seeds in August?
2) If you can’t raise bees, talk to your friends who have space and get them interested in raising bees. Me: If you can’t talk yourself into raising bees, do you really have the skill to talk someone else into raising bees?
3) Encourage beekeepers to open their apiary to friends. Me: Yes! Bring your own jar and pick your own honey. Doubt you’ll see those friends again.
4) Buy some mead and learn about this amazing drink! Me: OK. This one’s a winner. Celebrate Bee Day with some authentic fermented nectar of the gods.
Out of celebration ideas? On these lazy summer days (unless you’re a hard-working beekeeper), you might lie in the shade with a good bee book.