July 15, 2022

The KentRidge Senior Living Recognizes the Importance Bees Play on Our Ecosystem

Category: Senior Living

Author: William Verna, Culinary Director

Don’t step on a Bee! Sounds like sane advice, but did you know it’s also a day of recognizing the incredible impact that bees play on our ecosystem? There are roughly 4,000 bee species in North America and about 20,000 around the globe that pollinate everything from flowers to vegetables. In fact, bees pollinate approximately one in every three bites of food you eat, which makes them essential to the health and prosperity of countless ecosystems worldwide. Crops such as apples, cranberries, and broccoli all rely on bees. Fruits like blueberries and cherries are 90% dependent on honeybee pollination, as are almonds. To pollinate the roughly 1.2 million acres of almond trees, the California almond industry needs about 1.8 million bees.

However, one in four species of bees are facing extinction. From fungus to pesticides, bees are facing rapidly declining numbers. In the US, the honeybee population has declined 60% since 1947.

This year, The KentRidge Senior Living is celebrating “Don’t Step On A Bee Day” by utilizing locally sourced pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, blue-, black-, straw-, and raspberries in a fruit display for happy hour. All the fruits were purchased from Sirna and Sons Produce, which sources their products from local farms in Ohio and western Pennsylvania.

I’m allergic to bees, so they have always been a weird fascination of mine. Since I was little, I knew if I were stung, I would break out in hives terribly or worse, and the day would be over, so I kept my distance. Bees became something I wanted to observe more closely than before, because that’s what children do, the exact opposite of what they are told. So, every spring and summer I would try to follow bees to hives, sometimes getting too close and paying the penalty. Other times I’d just sit on the porch and watch them go from plant to plant in search of food, all the while pollinating the flowers and vegetables in my mother’s flowerbeds.

To this day it still amazes me the number of bees that one decent sized hive can hold and how incredibly organized and determined they are to colonize and survive. Children and many adults think that these insects are merely pests, but in reality, a vast majority of our food supply is dependent on the lowly, little worker bee to conduct his daily business. Being a culinarian by profession, this day holds a large significance to me because it is helping to promote a healthier ecosystem by not removing the insects. It is raising awareness and educating people on the importance of not killing, and certainly not stepping on bees. I mean how boring would life be without certain fruits, vegetables, honey, and honeycomb? It would not be a place where I want to be.

Most chefs, by profession, are artists and the plate is their canvas. We have the little bees to thank for providing us with the colorful fruits and vegetables that we use to decorate our medium. Whether it is merely to provide nourishment for loved ones daily or to celebrate our holidays and special occasions, we all must be aware these little creatures are super important to what we do. We must try to protect them in any capacity.

By recognizing this holiday, we hope to bring awareness to this global issue and try to start a conversation about what we can all do to help reverse this trend and help build the bee population back to its pre-WWII levels. And while you’re at it, don’t step on a bee. We need them here.

The KentRidge Senior Living in Kent, OH offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near University Hospital Portage Medical Center with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Sunny Hill Golf & Recreation Inc, Stow-Kent Shopping Center, Kent State Univeristy Museum, The Portage Hike & Bike Trail, and Mad Cap Brewing Company.

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