Morgan Freeman is a lot of things. Apart from being one of the most renowned actors on the planet, the 81-year-old celebrity has time and again raised his incredible voice to call attention to a number of concerning issues. The star added yet another title to his illustrious resume as an actor, filmmaker, and director, in 2014 when he took on the label of a beekeeper. He decided to do so in order to help put an end to the dwindling bee population on the planet and do what he can to revive and conserve their presence on earth.
Freeman joined the array of concerned activists all around the world desperately trying to halt the alarming rate at which bees are drying off. While many of them contribute towards the cause by planting flowers for bees to visit and collect nectar from, or by starting petitions to end the use of pesticides which kill off the insects, Morgan joined the movement by converting his 124-acre ranch in Mississippi into a great sanctuary for them. In a July 2014 interview with Jimmy Fallon, the actor revealed that he'd taken up beekeeping as a hobby just about two weeks prior to his appearance on the show.
The star reportedly explained that he'd taken up the hobby as a result of the mass bee die-offs over the past few years and that he had imported 26 hives full of bees from Arkansas to his ranch, where he now feeds them sugar water. Apparently, the bees have taken a great liking to Freeman as despite not wearing a protective suit while tending to them, he has never once been stung. He said, "I have not ever used the beekeeping hat with my bees. They haven’t stung me yet, as right now I am not trying to harvest honey or anything, but I just feed them…I also think that they understand, ‘Hey, don’t bother this guy, he’s got sugar water here."
Speaking about the bigger picture behind turning his gigantic ranch into a bee sanctuary, Freeman said, "There is a concerted effort for bringing bees back onto the planet…We do not realize that they are the foundation, I think, of the growth of the planet, the vegetation…I have a lot of flowering things, and I have a gardener too. As she takes care of the bees too, all she does is figure out, ‘OK, what would they like to have?’, so we have got acres and acres of clover, and we have some planting stuff like lavender, I have got like, maybe 140 magnolia trees, big blossoms."
Jodi Monelle, the founder and CEO of LIVEKINDLY shed light on the importance of the role bees play in our ecosystem and the means by which we could stop them from going extinct in a detailed post on the website. She wrote: Bee populations have been decreasing steadily across the globe over recent years, and with a ginormous 44% loss between 2015 and 2016 in the U.S. alone, it seems that now is a more crucial time than ever to find effective methods to protect them. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that 'Researchers are calling the mass disappearance ‘Colony Collapse Disorder'' and that 'The number of hives in the United States is now at its lowest point in the past 50 years'.
She listed three primary causes of the falling bee population. Commonly used in crop cultivation and throughout the agriculture industry in general, chemical sprays and pesticides have been found to be partially responsible for the death and impairment of bees, she wrote, citing toxicity in bee colonies subsequent to chemical exposure as one of the reasons behind the insects dying. In addition to insecticides, intensive farming practices which are leaving homeless and viruses and parasites of the likes of Varroa destructor and Nosema ceranae have also been found to be serious threats to honeybee colonies.
Monelle continued: Like all species, the humble bumble bee plays a pivotal role in the health of our environment and the ecosystems within it. Bees, in particular, are largely responsible for regulating our food supply by way of pollinating of our crops. In fact, just 2% of bees have been found to be responsible for pollinating 80% of our crops (globally!). Bees may be small but they are extremely hard working creatures and if that tiny two percent is lost, 80% of our food from crop cultivation will also disappear. We’re talking apples, oranges, avocados, blueberries, broccoli, onions, almonds and so much more. Considering that the world is already suffering from a severe food scarcity – is this what we want to be heading towards?
I did a bee handling lab today! Did you know that honey bees have to see veterinarians too when they get sick ? Every year 35% of the bee population in the states dies. These guys pollinate many of our crops so it’s super important to take care of them! They were so cute! 🐝🐝 pic.twitter.com/LY2ufK15iq— Raz aka Baby Vet! 🇻🇪🇺🇸 Saving: 500/700$ 🐾 (@raz_swirl) March 11, 2019
Elaborating on the different ways in which one could help save bees, Monelle claims plating bee gardens or choosing organic plants and fruits or even growing your own, could do the trick. Although it isn't an easy task to measure the exact impact of Freeman's contribution to the cause has on bee population, his story definitely serves as motivation to all of us that no matter how small, we could all do something to help save bees and subsequently towards the well being of our planet. After all, none of us want to leave our beautiful homes and migrate to some other desolate planet, do we?