Why All the Bees Are Dying and What WE Can Do About It
Bees are vital to our life – to life in general, so why are they dying by the millions?
Over 40% of our honeybees have perished due to a myriad of reasons from farming practices to pesticides to parasites to climate change. Their cousins, the big giant bumblebees are also on the rapid decline. Why should we be concerned? Because without bees, we could be endanger of perishing ourselves. You see, bees pollinate over 1/3 of all the crops we consume. From fruits and veggies to nuts, berries, and coffee and so much more – we absolutely NEED bees to sustain the production of our planet’s food supply. Bees are a critical part in our food chain.
Over 250,000 species of flowering plants depend on bees to help them pollinate. Without them, reproduction would be a big struggle. Not only would the plants struggle to survive, small animals and insects would also struggle to survive. This is a WORLDWIDE problem.
But what to do? What to do?
Here are a sweet tips!
1. Leave your weeds alone for a bit. Although we all get a little tired of seeing our landscape get taken over by weeds, weeds are actually a very important food source for bees! If you absolutely must rid your lawn or garden of weeds, let the weed flower (so the bees can do their thang) and THEN PULL the weed before it goes to seed.
2. Don’t use chemicals and pesticides. One of the worst things that damage and destroy the honeybee system is chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers. Pesticides are especially harmful and are one of the major culprits of Colony Collapse Disorder. Chemicals affect the way bees learn, their feeding behavior, and how they thrive and develop. Chemicals also compromise their immune systems which gives them more of a chance to fall victim to parasites like mites and to disease. That is if they are not simply killed by the chemicals.
Using these chemicals on your lawn might give you a quick beautification, but the weeds come back. It’s not worth the risk to your own health or the bees survival. When we apply chemicals to the flowers of weeds, the bees actually carry these chemicals back to their hives and therefore the honey that we eat.
3. Many of us already put out water for the birds. Bees need and love water too. Put a few stones in your bird feeder so that the bees having something to walk on and still be able to drink. The birds won’t mind the rocks at all, in fact I’m sure they’d be happy to share.
4. Buy local honey whenever possible. There are many benefits to buying local. Of course you are supporting local vendors, but you are also ingesting local honey – which means it comes from flowers and pollen native to your area – which is great to build resistance to allergies.
If you do purchase from a grocery store there are a few things to look for on the label. First, only buy honey with “raw” or “pure” on the label. Otherwise you probably have chemicals in your honey. Second, never buy honey from China. Honey from China has recently been in the news for having chemically contaminated honey.
5. Plant bee friendly plants. Bee habitats all over the world are dwindling because of farming practices, chemically treating lawns and gardens, and bee mites. I’m not sure what we can do about bee mites, but I do know that we can either not chemically treat and we can also help the bees by planting things that will help them recover.
Some great plants for bees (and also hummingbirds!) are butterfly bushes, honey suckle, sage, lavender, trumpet vines or anything with trumpet like flowers, and lilies. For a more extensive list, see the list at Honey Love
6. Leave swarms alone! Call your local authority who will contact a bee keeper to collect the swarm.
7. Consider being a bee keeper! Inform yourself thoroughly before doing this and make sure you have the time and space. Consult your local laws as well. Click HERE for more info.
Odd fact: If you have eaten a jar of honey that is not from your country, make sure you wash your honey jar out completely. If bees smell it, and they will – they will seek out the jar and get into it. Then they will take what they can back to their hive. Foreign honey is toxic and deadly to native bees because it has different bacteria and spores.
One last thought: Honey is not only good for eating, it’s great for your skin. On my zen blog I have a couple honey skin care recipes if you are interested.
….and that’s the buzz for today. (sorry, couldn’t resist) 🙂
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