SUPPORT THE HONEY BEE
A new Virginia bill, H.B. 1896, proposes making the Honey Bee the state pollinator of Virginia.
Learn why the bee is important and why we need to recognize it.
Use our pre-filled letter to write the Virginia House Rules Committee.
Why is recognizing the Honey Bee important?
Honey bees have fascinated humanity across cultures, including Virginia’s, since the beginning of recorded history. By studying them, even young children can begin to sense that purpose permeates everything and that the world and its creatures are ordered, wondrous, and awe-inspiring.
We believe that each generation has an obligation to the next to pass on this awareness.
One of the best things we can do on behalf of honey bees, the Earth, and the health and happiness of future generations is to point out to children easily understandable examples of the interconnected order and beauty in the natural world.
Passage of H.B. 1896 will increase the chances that every child in Virginia will have his or her eyes opened to the wonder of honey bees.
The Honey Bee came to Virginia with the first colonial expeditions.
Honey bees arrived in Virginia with colonists in 1622.
The earliest record documenting the introduction of honey bees is a letter in the “Records of the Virginia Company of London” dated December 5, 1621. These hives reportedly arrived at City Point in 1622.
Virginian colonists kept bees to make important products like honey and beeswax.
Honey was an important sweetener, since sugar was not easily available. Beeswax was used for candles and to waterproof shoes, tools, and houses.
Nearly all colonial farms kept beehives in the eaves of their outbuildings. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both kept beehives at Monticello and Mount Vernon.
Today, Virginia’s agriculture industry depends on honey bees to pollinate over 1/3 of all state crops.
Honey bees add $23 million in value to the apple industry alone, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).
“In Virginia, about a third of our crops have to be pollinated to produce or produce well. If you take three bites of food, and if you have no pollinators, you have to take one of those away.” — Elaine Lidholm, VDACS
But honey bees are declining to critical levels from disease, cold winters, and pesticides.
“The number of managed honey bee colonies in the United States has declined steadily over the past 60 years, from 6 million colonies (beehives) in 1947… to just 2.5 million today.” — The White House
“Since 2007, an average of 30% of all colonies have died every winter in the United States. This loss is about twice as high as what U.S. beekeepers consider economically tolerable.” — CNN
Virginian beekeepers and farmers suffer from low honey bee populations too.
Recognizing the honey bee as Virginia state pollinator is just one step to take toward securing the honey bee’s future.
of all Virginia crops require pollination
of all fruit varieties are pollinated by honey bees
of all US bee colonies die every winter
Honey bees are responsible for much of our landscape as well as our modern agricultural success. They deserve recognition and protection. We owe it to them.
Can you guess which of these modern Virginia cash crops are native?
Honey bees helped shape the early Virginian landscape, along with other imported animals and plants from the Old World.
Write Virginia Delegates2>
Let the Virginia House Rules Committee know that you support the Honey Bee for Virginia’s state pollinator! We have a pre-filled email for you to customize. Add your name and anything you want to tell them. When you’re ready, click send!
The Committee will vote on H.B. 1896 at the end of January 2019.
This letter will be sent to all Virginia delegates in the House of Representatives: Barry Knight, Betsy Carr, Buddy Fowler, C. Todd Gilbert, Christopher Peace, David Bulova, Delores McQuinn, Glenn Davis, Gordon Helsel, James Morefield, Jason Miyares, Jay Jones, Jay Leftwich, Jeion Ward, Kathleen Murphy, Lashrecse Aird, Luke Torian, M. Keith Hodges, Marcia Price, Patrick Hope, and Richard Bell.