When you think of bees, many of us think of fuzzy bumblebees, honeycombs, and maybe even being stung once or twice as a kid. However, bees are a critical part of our ecosystem. In addition to making honey, they also pollinate all sorts of fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, squash, apples, almonds, and so much more. At least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of wild plants thrive on bees’ pollination. It’s not just honeybees; there are many different types of bees who act as pollinators. For more than the past decade, populations of bees have been declining due to insecticides, pesticides, and other agricultural practices. There’s been a 40 percent loss of commercial honeybees in the U.S. since 2006.
The Naked Bee first started Operation Pollination three years ago due to their connection with honey and the honeybee. The Naked Bee products are all-natural and are made out of many organic ingredients such as honey and beeswax. The goal of the Operation Pollination campaign is to combat declining bee populations and spread awareness of the importance of bees. Melissa Taylor, sales manager for The Naked Bee says, “Operation Pollination started with the honeybee because we use honey in our products.” Melissa continues, “A lot of people have a negative view of bees. We wanted to spread awareness and show bees respect. It’s really important that everyone understands the importance bees have for our environment and society.”
Operation Pollination partners with retailers across America to spread awareness to consumers. Retailers receive marketing materials and packets of wildflower seeds for planting from The Naked Bee free of charge. In turn, retailers pass out the seed packets to customers to plant in their gardens at home in in their communities.
The campaign has been a huge success. In addition to retailers, The Naked Bee is beginning to partner with zoos and botanical gardens across the country. “We partner with high traffic and tourist areas such as the Texas Discovery Garden to sponsor a live bee exhibit,” says Melissa. “This is a great educational tool for visitors who come to the gardens. Guests can take seed packets as souvenirs to plant and make an impact in their own backyards.”
For 2018, The Naked Bee is introducing a bee habitat for mason bees that they will provide to garden centers, nature preserve centers, and other outdoor venues that can accommodate a bee dwelling. “We’re opening the door to awareness of other bee species and types of pollinators,” says Melissa. “We’re starting to branch out and think big picture.”
Any retailer can get involved with Operation Pollination free of charge. The Naked Bee will start shipping out seed packets and marketing materials in January. The program officially kicks off in March for planting season. If you are a gift, garden, outdoor, or community retailer this is a perfect opportunity to host an interactive seed-planting event to help raise awareness both for bees and for your business.