"We can all avoid pesticides. We can all put nectar-rich native plants into the landscape. We can all advocate for green space. We can all teach kids about bees. It's not that we all need to become beekeepers. No, we all need to become bee protectors, bee champions."
--Alison Gillespie, author of Hives in the City. Keeping Honey Bees Alive in an Urban World
In October, 2014, Carrboro became the third municipality in the country to join Bee City USA. Bees and other pollinators around the globe have experienced dramatic declines due to a combination of habitat loss, use of pesticides, spread of pests and diseases, intensification and industrialization of apiculture, and reduced genetic diversity. Becoming a Bee City USA affiliate publicly announces Carrboro’s intention to promote healthy, sustainable habitats for bees and other pollinators. For municipal operations, Carrboro has been pursuing a Least Toxic Integrated Pest Management Policy since the 1990s that recognizes the importance of avoiding and minimizing impacts of municipal operations on pollinators and other species.
The benefits of (native and honey) bee-friendliness are:
- Healthy ecosystems. Insect pollinators are required for pollination and reproduction of about 85% of flowering plants globally that: 1) are vital for clean air and water; 2) provide food, fiber and shelter for people and wildlife; and 3) support the insects that pollinate crops and form the basis of food webs.
- Increased habitat for natural enemies of crop pests and therefore reduced need for pesticides.
- Increased demand for pollinator-friendly plant materials from local nurseries and growers.
- Income earned by beekeepers and others through the sale of bee products, beekeeping equipment and supplies, and hive rentals for pollination; and heightened prestige and premium asking prices for place-based honey.
The Environmental Advisory Board and Town staff provide support to the Town's involvement in the Bee City USA program.