Honeybees get all the credit, but you have to know the truth about them. There I was. Backstage at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, a microphone taped to my face, my sweaty crumpled notes still in my right hand, and just about to go on stage to expose the truth about honeybees at the 2015 TEDx Fulton Street conference. I couldn’t believe I was finally there. For over a year, I had thought about what I would say. Fantastic photographers including Randee Daddona, Katelyn LaGrega, Diana Van Buren, and Brienne Lademann had lent me their amazing photos. Presentation coach Brad Boyer had volunteered his time and spent countless hours with me on Skype to hone my message. There I stood behind the curtain peeking at the large crowd — about to achieve a major life milestone.
I love my honeybees but everyone needs to know that wild bees are the actual superheroes.
Walking on stage, I could feel the energy of the crowd. While giving my talk, there was a little voice inside my head saying “Holy cow, I can’t believe I am here!” It all went so quick, a blur actually. I worked my honeybee hives the day before, knowing that the next day I was going to bash them publicly. I love my honeybees but everyone needs to know that wild bees are the actual superheroes.
There are 4,000 different bee species nationwide! Wild bees are 2-3 times better at pollinating than honeybees and many species like the mason bee, bumble bee and leafcutter bee can be managed much like honeybees. In fact, I use mason bees to pollinate orchards on Long Island and have started experimenting with keeping leafcutter bees and bumble bees. Honeybees only rose to cultural fame because they produce large amounts of honey and can pollinate vast acres of monoculture crops (factory farms). You see, honeybees fly up to three miles from their hive; wild bees fly half mile or less, depending on the species.
There are simple things everyone can do to boost their garden and farm yields without having honeybee hives. Please watch the TEDx talk to find out how.
Laura Klahre writes the “Notes from the Meadow” column for Edible.