Did you know that Asheville is the first Bee City USA?! The pioneering designation came last year; to keep the momentum humming along, the folks behind the proclamation have dreamed up a big Pollination Celebration, with events running through June 22. What’s more, it’s Get Local honey month! Here’s the buzz from Bee City USA Director Phyllis Stiles.
You’re Invited to a Pollination Celebration in Asheville
Guest post from Phyllis Stiles, Bee City USA director
Until a few years ago when the honeybee introduced me to her fellow pollinators, the little field workers were invisible to me. Now, it’s as though I’m in Gulliver’s Travels in the land of the Lilliputians!
Here are some buzzworthy facts:
- Most flowering plants (87%) depend on pollinators for successful reproduction.
- Of 20,000 species of bees in the world, only 7 are honeybees! All bees are excellent pollinators, but honeybees are the only ones that transform nectar into honey for overwintering.
- Ever watched a bumblebee grip a tomato flower with her legs and vibrate her flight muscles? Tomatoes require “buzz pollination”—bumblebees’ specialty—to achieve proper fruit set.
- Most blueberries can’t be fertilized by their own pollen. Placing different varieties within 100 feet of one another allows honeybees, bumblebees, southeastern blueberry bees, and orchard bees to travel and cross-pollinate them.
Publicly launched from Asheville City Market last summer, Bee City USA wants cities to become aware of pollinators’ importance, model behaviors that sustain them, and encourage their inhabitants to do the same.
As ASAP celebrates Get Local honey month this June, Bee City USA and Tupelo Honey Cafe invite you to attend Pollination Celebration!, a series of educational and entertaining events June 14-22 in and around Asheville. Highlights include:
- 7 days of Bee Movie with antennae and a bee quiz available at the door (June 14-20, 1 and 4 pm at Asheville Pizza & Brewing).
- 9 days of Busy Bee Scavenger Hunts at Ingles on Tunnel Road in Asheville, with a launch June 14, 3:30-6 pm, that includes local food tastings with ASAP. Revered local beekeeper Edd Buchanan will be there with an observation hive.
- 2 garden tours showcasing beekeeping and pollinator-friendliness: Asheville GreenWorks Father’s Day garden tour (June 16) and Buncombe Master Gardeners Tour (June 22).
- Appalachian Grown certified farm Wild Mountain Apiaries’ open house (in Woodfin) of their new beekeeping supply retail store (June 21).
- Butterfly flight house tours at Hop’n Blueberry Farm (another Appalachian Grown certified farm) in Black Mountain (June 15 and 22, 12 and 2 pm).
- Asheville on Bikes Summer Cycle: Bees, Blossoms and Bicycles Community Ride through downtown (June 22, 1:30-3:30 pm).
Additionally, there are 4 presentations:
- Master gardener and beekeeper Diane Almond presents “All Things Pollinators & Pollination” (June 15, 10 am-2:30 pm, YMCA on Beaverdam Road).
- Author Doug Tallamy explains why Bringing Nature Home (his acclaimed book) in our landscaping choices is important to sustain native pollinators like butterflies and the food web for humans and wildlife. Come early at 6:30 to meet Monarch educator Ina Warren and aromatherapist Katie Vie who formulated Nectar Flow perfume to benefit Bee City USA (June 17, 7 pm at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center).
- Carl Chesick and I talk about Bee City USA and the Center for Honeybee Research at Asheville Green Drinks (June 19, 5:30-7 pm, Lenoir-Rhyne University, Asheville).
- Lisa Wagner, education director for SC Botanical Gardens, presents incorporating native plants into home gardens to support native pollinators (June 22, 9:30-11 am, Botanical Gardens of Asheville).
For more information, visit beecityusa.org/pollinator-week. Bee there!
Tags:Appalachian Grown, Asheville City Market, Bee City USA, Get Local, Honey, honeybees, Hop 'n Blueberry Farm, pollinators, Wild Mountain Apiaries