HAMPTON ROADS - Saturday, August 17 marks a very big day for a very small animal. National Honey Bee Day is this weekend and experts are hoping to use the day as a way to help the insect thrive.
Experts say in last year in Virginia nearly 60% of hives were lost to colony collapse. That was also felt around the country, with 30% of all hives also falling to colony collapse.
The exact cause of the phenomenon is not known but it happens when the majority of the bees in a hive leave their queen behind. Without enough bees to run the hive, it collapses.
With a third of our food products being pollinated by bees, these numbers are disturbing for experts.
"30% of our food is coming from honey bees, they just make life possible for us and without them it would be a very bleak and devastating world," explained Deborah Waller, Associate Professor of Biology at ODU.
With days dedicated to celebrating the insect, Waller hopes it will change the way people see them.
"People seem to not like insects, however, insects are essential to life," she said. "We need to value them and give them a place to live."
To help give them a place to live, Waller suggests planting flowers bees can visit, cut down on pesticide use and not destroy habitats that might be natural for bees.