Don't Step on a Bee Day
annually on July 10th
Bees are the world's largest pollinators and there are 20,000 species of them. Bumblebees and honeybees have bodies specifically made for collecting pollen, with fine hairs that the pollen gets stuck to. The pollen then goes to pollen baskets on the back of the bees' legs, where it stays while being transported. Pollination makes food that we eat grow, and this is just one of many benefits that bees bring humans, along with the making of products such as honey and beeswax.
Don't Step on a Bee Day was created to remind people that going barefoot can mean getting stung by a bee. According to the creators of the day, Thomas and Ruth Roy, if you get stung, you are supposed to "tell Mom." Although the original reasoning behind the day says that bees shouldn't be stepped on because you may get stung, many have interpreted the day as meaning that people shouldn't willingly step on bees to harm them and that there is a need to protect and care for bees. The holiday is particularly celebrated this way in the United Kingdom.
Why do bees need protection? Besides getting killed by people stepping on them or hitting them with fly swatters, they face many other obstacles. They are killed by insecticides, particularly by those containing neonicotinoids. They commonly die from pollution, chemical exposure, and temperature change. Honey bees are threatened by mites that carry diseases, and bumblebees often have a hard time finding flowers and places to nest.
On Don't Step on a Bee Day, people share online about the best ways to protect bees. Special events have also been organized, where people have learned about the benefits of bees and how to take care of them. Ultimately, today is for being aware of bees. Yes, it's important to be aware that if you are walking barefoot you may be stung, but it is also important to remember the many benefits that bees bring.
How to Observe Don't Step on a Bee Day
One way to celebrate the day is to keep an eye out for bees when you are walking around barefoot, so you don't get stung. Perhaps you could count how many bees you see during the day while doing this. As the day is more so celebrated as a day to help bees, while you are watching not to step on them, you could keep an eye out for ones having trouble in the heat. If you see that some are struggling, you could give them a few drops of sugar water.
There are many things you can do to help protect and care for bees. Some general things you could do are make sure bees in your yard have water, and limit your pesticide use or go organic. You could plant pollen-rich plants and flowers in your garden that are attractive to bees. You could also put up a bee hotel. After learning about beekeeping, you could make an apiary. You will need to purchase or build beehives to make this a reality.
You could also read more about bees to gain a deeper knowledge about them and learn more ways to enjoy their benefits. Picking up a copy of The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses may be a good place to start. If nothing else, you could eat some honey on the day. There is such a buzz around the subject of bees, that you should be able to find some enjoyable way to celebrate the holiday!