LEHI, UTAH, MAY 16, 2023
Ahead of World Bee Day on May 20, Young Living, the world's leading provider of essential oils and oil-infused wellness products, announces new research project that expands upon its pioneering bee research project.
The first study launched in April of 2022 in partnership with Utah scientists Dr. Joseph Wilson, author of “The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees;” and his wife, Lindsey Wilson, co-owner of the Native Pollinator Project. The study successfully gathered data on native bee species at Young Living’s Mona farm in Utah and Simiane-la-Rotonde farm in France.
That research project laid the groundwork for population studies, with scientists estimating that at least 50 species of bees were found visiting the lavender farms. Preliminary data gathered during the project suggested that natural-kept farms may house a greater number wild bees than more-manicured farms. However, it was found that uncultivated (wild) lavender was primarily visited by wild bees, while honey bees mainly visited farmed lavender.
The scientists also collected evidence that suggested wild bees might be more effective pollinators of lavender than honey bees and that when there are more honey bees around, there are fewer wild bees.
This year, the scientists are looking to discover the immediate and long-term effects of bee pollination on the lavender botanicals, examining how native pollinators interact with these plants in Utah to determine if Young Living should reevaluate the pollination process to help its farms flourish further.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue our work with local native bee species,” says Young Living Senior Scientist Tyler Wilson. “As our study continues, we hope to discover new ways to marry scientific innovation and conservation efforts to support our local pollinators and provide unparalleled product quality that begins at our farms, even before seeds are planted.”
This year, the scientists will continue observing the native pollinators in Utah at Young Living’s Global Headquarters (GHQ) near the property’s greenhouse, where three research plots of lavender have been planted. The three plots will serve as different study groups: Group one will be open for any pollinators, from bees to butterflies; group two will have bags covering the lavender, so it cannot be accessed by pollinators; and group three will have bags covering the lavender occasionally, allowing certain groups to pollinate, but not others.
The project will be split into two stages, with the first spanning May through July and including activities such as bee counts, data collection, and photography of the species of bees present. When the lavender is ready to harvest in July, Young Living’s essential oil experts will distill and analyze the oils from each group to determine how the pollination process might affect the yield or profile of the final product. After a portion of the lavender is harvested to investigate the immediate impacts of pollination on lavender, a separate portion of the lavender will be left alone to produce seed. Young Living scientists will then analyze how many seeds are produced by each plot.
These seeds will be collected, winterized, and grown in Young Living’s greenhouse in October and November for the project’s second stage in the fall and winter months of 2023, which will examine the health and success rate of the seeds from each plot to determine how pollination might affect future generations of lavender. The two stages of the lavender-bee research will help answer what immediate and long-term impact bees have on lavender.
Dr. Joseph and Lindsey Wilson will also spend several weeks in France this summer to gather additional data on wild bees in the lavender fields of the Simiane-la-Rotonde farm. Their research will help scientists to continue gathering data about how different farming practices influence the species of bees found in the fields and learn more about the bee communities that visit wild lavender compared to farmed lavender.
“We plan to spend time uncovering more details of the lives of the bees that are visiting lavender, so we can help other people have a broader understanding of the important role wild bees play in natural and agricultural settings,” says Dr. Wilson. “The unique qualities of Young Living’s lavender farms make for the perfect setting to analyze the relationship between pollinators and the plants they pollinate, giving us the opportunity to not only discover new ways to help conserve these incredible creatures but also make significant scientific strides.”
Young Living Essential Oils, LC, based in Lehi, Utah, is the world leader in essential oils, offering the highest-quality oil-infused products available. Young Living takes its industry leadership seriously, setting the standard with its proprietary Seed to Seal® quality commitment. This guiding principle helps Young Living protect the planet and provide authentic products that its Brand Partners and Customers can feel confident using and sharing with friends and family. Young Living’s products—sourced from corporate-owned farms, partner farms, and other trusted suppliers—not only support a healthy lifestyle, but also provide opportunities for over 6 million global Brand Partners to find a sense of purpose and whole-life wellness by aligning their work with the Young Living values and passions. For more information, visit YoungLiving.com, follow @youngliving on Instagram, or like us on Facebook.