World Bee Day

About

Origins of WBD

On 20 December 2017, following three years of efforts at the international level, the UN Member States unanimously approved a proposal by Slovenia to proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day. 

Why Slovenia?

Slovenia is a nation of beekeepers, and beekeeping enjoys a status equal to that of other types of agricultural activity. The significance of bees and ensuring their well-being is well understood. In 2011, Slovenia was one of the first EU countries to prohibit the use of certain pesticides harmful to bees in its territory. In 2014, Slovenia launched the initiative to declare World Bee Day with full support of The Government of the Republic of Slovenia. 

Why 20th May?

In May, the northern hemisphere sees bees and nature develop profusely, while the southern hemisphere enters autumn, when hive products are harvested and the season of honey and honey-based products begins.

In addition, 20 May is the birth date of Anton Janša (1734–1773), a Slovenian beekeeper, the pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the greatest authorities on the subject of bees. 

The Austrian Empress Maria Theresa appointed him to the post of permanent teacher of apiculture at the new School of Beekeeping in Vienna. He became well known even before his death in 1773. After 1775, all state beekeeping teachers had to teach the subject in accordance with his teachings and methods. 

Purpose of WBD

The purpose of World Bee day is to raise awareness of the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and the planet healthy. It provides an opportunity for governments, organisations, civil society and concerned citizens everywhere to promote actions that will protect and enhance pollinators and their habitats, improve their abundance and diversity, and support the sustainable development of beekeeping.

The Importance of bees

Bees play an important role in pollinating native plants in our Australian ecosystem. The vast majority of global pollinators are wild including over 20,000 species of bees.  Australia is home to around 2,000 species of native bees, the majority of which are solitary bees.

European Honeybees are social insects that were introduced to pollinate many of the introduced food crops that now form part of a normal Australian diet.  Beekeepers migrate their bees to produce honey from diverse flowering events and perform essential pollination services to safeguard our food, fibre, forests and fodder crops.

Food security

Bees are keystone species, playing a vital role as pollinators.

Global population forecasts predict that we will have close to one third more people in the next 30 years. To feed this growing population and secure the well-being of humankind, we need to ensure food is available, accessible, diverse, balanced and of good quality. 

Pollination is crucial to achieving food security as three out of four crops across the globe producing fruits or seeds for human consumptions as food depend, at least in part, on pollinators. Pollinators affect 35 percent of global agricultural land, supporting the production of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide.