The plight of honey bees should be a concern for all, says suburban beekeeper

A dying bee population is not just nature's problem and people are finally realizing it.

Less bees means less nutritious food on our plates. The honey bee and it's plight are now a topic at a seminar in Lake Forest this weekend.

"There are so many problems in the world, I can't solve them all, but I can solve them in my own backyard, said Jess Ray of Mettawa.

Ray walks his property in the far northern suburbs. The sun is shining, a blanket of snow covers the ground, and believe it or not, still months from summer, honey bees buzz with activity in his backyard. Tens and thousands of them in these hives he cares for all year long.

"One-third of everything you put into your mouth that you are eating has been pollinated by either a farrell bee or a honey bee," he said.

Last year honey bees were down by 45 percent. This year, projections say the loss will be closer to 60 percent.

Some possible threats include pesticides, mites, viruses the mites carry and lack of true nutrition for the bees.

"The problem with our food and our health is we are not getting a lot of nutrition," he said.

Remineralizing our soil could be one solution.

"When you do that for the human, you actually do that for the bee," said Ray.

It's a vicious cycle. What isn't happening for the bee nutritionally is affecting our nutrients too in the food they pollinate and we eat.

Other topics that will be discussed at the seminar this weekend include: keeping bees around and keeping them alive when no researcher can be certain why the bees are dying off so rapidly.

A distinct new interest in the future of the honey bee population is on the rise. For the Ray, he said he's delighted and wants people to think of the bees like they think of their own pets.

"Honey bees deserve that same kind of attention. They are pollinating the food that allows you to live so they deserve some of your attention too," said Ray.

To learn more, you can go to a seminar this Saturday in Lake Forest. You must register online in advance to attend. Visit the website MettawaBeeSeminar.com for instructions.