Bees, Butterflies, and your cup of Teeccino

Bees, Butterflies, and your cup of Teeccino

Pollinator populations in crisis

Bees, butterflies and other insects are essential to our food production as pollinators. Your cup of Teeccino depends on bees, both honey bees and wild bee species to ensure that crops are well pollinated. Chicory, carob, almonds, dates, figs, and dandelions are all pollinated by bees.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the massive colony collapse disorder that is plaguing honeybees. It is also affecting wild bee colonies. Last year, 40% of honeybees – over 50 billion bees – died before the spring pollination season started up again. It’s devastating to beekeepers, farmers and of course the bees!

Here in Santa Barbara, October to March, monarch butterflies return to our local grove of eucalyptus trees where they cluster to keep warm for the winter months. Last year, instead of tens of thousands of monarchs, whose golden wings make an extraordinarily beautiful sight to behold, only 230 butterflies showed up. 230! In Mexico, at the reserve in the mountains northwest of Mexico City where butterflies fly over 2500 miles from the US Northeast, a similar dire reduction in butterfly numbers was recorded.

Then came the highly distressing news that two of the top local conservationists in the Mexican Monarch Biosphere Reserve were murdered this month. In many parts of the world, being an environmentalist working to protect wild habitat is a dangerous career. Yet these people are so dedicated, they continue their work despite the risk to their lives.

I was so shocked and saddened, I decided that Teeccino as a company has to do something about this. Each of us, whether as individuals or as companies, have a role to play in protecting our environment. Now more than ever, we have to take the steps that ensure there is a healthy planet for our children to inherit!

Here's what Teeccino plans to do!

Teeccino’s Mediterranean blends depend on golden roasted almonds from California to imbue their delicious nuttiness into a brewed cup. Think Hazelnut, Vanilla Nut, Mocha, Java and many other delicious –nut blends. Over 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California’s Central Valley. Almond orchards cover over 500,000 acres. With 2 hives per acres required for pollination, a million hives and billions of bees are at risk. One beekeeper likened the conditions in these orchards to sending bees to war. It is time to start supporting the bees instead of killing them!

Bees can fly 5 miles in search of food. Even if a farmer is organic, bees may fly to conventional fields where they are exposed to a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids that act like nicotine. These pesticides weaken bees’ immune systems and can kill them the whole hive when the pesticides are brought back from the fields. The EPA has banned 12 neonicotinoids but left 47 still on the market.

"Bee Better Certification”

With some research, I discovered that there is a new “Bee Better Certification” for farmers founded by The Xerces Society, which supports science-based conservation and protection for pollinators. Farmers can get certified if they commit to the following:

  • No-till and no pesticide application approaches
  • Keeping a growing cover crop on soil between rows of trees or between income crops
  • Dedicating 5% of land to habitat for wild bees and growing food plants for butterflies.
  • Providing nesting sites for wild bees and butterfly host plants.

Teeccino is now committed to buying certified bee-friendly almonds that increase the survival of both honeybees and native bees. I’ve found an almond grower who is visionary about growing both conventional and organic almonds employing bee friendly methods. I’m excited about sourcing our almonds exclusively from this grower! If you’d like to join us in supporting conservation of bees, butterflies and other pollinators, please learn more about the Xerces Society and become a member!

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