Save the Bee, Save the World
Our world’s food supply depends on honey bees. One of every three bites of our food originates from bees pollinating the flowers that produce our fruits, nuts, vegetables and even coffee–coffee production has been found to double when purposely pollinated by honey bees. Each one of us benefits from a healthy honey bee population.
Honey bee populations have been declining for decades, (due to colony collapse disorder and other stressors) and they continue to struggle for survival. Honey bees are biological indicators, meaning that honey bee health reflects the general health of the environment. Bee losses are possibly a symptom of a much greater environmental problem.
Some organizations and governments have taken steps to try to reverse the trend but it’s not enough. Here are 5 things you can do to help Save the Bee:
Rethink the Manicured Lawn
Dandelions and clover could not be any easier to grow–all you have to do is Nothing!
Let dandelions, clover and other bee-friendly plants grow in your garden and yard. Sure, you probably think of them as weeds, but have you ever questioned that belief? Read the history of why Americans value green, perfectly manicured lawns–lawns that are very expensive to maintain, terrible for the environment, and a significant drain on our water supply.
Perhaps you have a Homeowners’ Association or local ordinance that has strict guidelines about mowing and weeding. A solution to that might be to replace part or all of your lawn with flowering plants.
We can all work toward changing longstanding attitudes about “proper landscaping” and show local governments how and why native landscaping is good for everyone.
The Community that Cares
The benefits of a community garden go way beyond helping to Save the Bee. They help improve air and soil quality, increase plant and animal biodiversity, and when you plant fruit, vegetable and grain crops, you will have a source of fresh food that does not need to be “trucked in” to your community. Those are just a few examples.
The USDA offers information, including webinars and a checklists that will help you lay the groundwork for your community garden, as well as guidelines on how to make your garden a haven for bees and other pollinators.
Collateral Damage of Toxic Chemicals: You
Bees do not stand a chance against toxic chemicals designed to kill weeds and pests. If you use a toxic (non-organic) weed killer or pesticide, you are fueling the decline of the honey bee population. You can actually see the effects of spraying toxic chemicals on a bee or a beehive–the bees die.
What you don’t see right away are the effects on you, your family and your pets. Weed killers and pesticides are marketed as being safe as long as you follow the instructions and allow the chemicals to dry before permitting children or pets to enter the area where the chemical has been applied. But, there is plenty of evidence that these chemicals are not safe for any living things, and some have been linked to certain cancers. Organic weed and pest control is a safer and healthier choice for you, your family and the bees.
A No-Kill Solution to Bee Removal
When bees nest inside your home you might be inclined to grab a can of pesticide and get them out ASAP. Or, you might call an exterminator who will use toxic chemicals and wipe out the entire colony. Consider instead a bee-friendly option that will save the bee–humane bee removal. Many pest removal services are educated about the plight of the honey bee and now offer humane bee removal. They’ll save the bee without using toxic chemicals and they’ll remove the honeycomb, which if left intact, will create a mess and attract other animals and insects. Contact your local beekeeping association or search online for “humane bee removal” or “live bee removal” to find a local service. Read this article for more details about humane bee removal.
Where Did That Honey Come From?
Corn based sweeteners are spectacularly energy intensive in growth and production, and cause a plethora of ethical problems.
Honey is a great alternative BUT cheap, highly processed honey is very likely to be manufactured by companies that are not concerned about the treatment of their bees and the quality of the honey. The honey you can get from small local beekeepers is typically raw honey in its sweet, pure, most natural state. It’s unfiltered, minimally processed and contains protein-packed bee pollen and enzymes.
Save the Bee!
Today is a good day to get involved and help Save the Bee. Learn more about what you can do to help Save the Bee!