White Bee by Esao Andrews, oil on wood.

Honey bees are very special to me because a long time ago I learned that my name actually means honey bee in Greek and it was just so appropriate given my love of gardening and nature. It fit me so well!

Did you know that prior to European settlement in the 1600s, there were actually no true honeybees in the Americas?! There was a form of stingerless bee used by the Mayans to cultivate honey and other native bees such as bumble bees that could be used to pollinate, but honeybees actually didn’t reach the west coast until 200 years after the first honeybees were brought to America! There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world, only 7 of which are honeybees. The past 30 years, however, has seen the disappearance of dozens of species of bees due to the mysterious and devastating colony collapse disorder which has killed anomalous amounts of overwintering hives throughout the last several years. The cause of this disorder is widely unknown but scientist speculate that it could have derived from the overharvesting of honey (which honey bees actually store to use as a source of food to produce heat during the winter) or overuse of pesticides. Diseases spread by commercial honeybees as well as competition from those very same bees are also posing serious threats to native bee populations. Bee preservationists are advocating to have native bees raised locally to pollinate crops so as to minimize the transportation of commercial hives moving throughout the country.