Bees are in trouble! As many of us know, an alarming phenomena known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is occurring around the world. CCD occurs when a large number of the worker bees from a single colony suddenly disappear, abandoning the colony’s queen bee, immature bees and a few nursing bees. This occurrence is a very real and scary thing, since with the disappearance of bees, so goes some of our favorite produce. Here are some helpful tips on how you can help save the bees!
The importance of the honeybee and its impact on humans and wildlife is something that cannot be stressed enough. So many of us grew up to be scared of bees, instead of understanding and appreciating the vital role they play in pollinating our food. Without pollination, most plants are unable to produce seeds, nuts and fruits.
In 1901, Maurice Maeterlinck wrote in his work, “The Life of the Bee”,
‘…It is actually estimated that more than a hundred thousand varieties of plants would disappear if the bees did not visit them, and possibly even our civilization, for in these mysteries all things intertwine.’
So, what can we do to make honeybees happy?! For answers, on how to help save the bees, I asked my friend, Trish, who happens to be the coolest beekeeper babe I know! She, her husband and her young daughter have been beekeepers for the last two years. They now have eight hives, which they tend on their 400 acre California Ranch.
Trish said it does not matter the size of space you have, whether you are urban or rural, the same basic rules apply.
1. First and most importantly, stop using pesticides!
Pesticides disrupt the natural harmony between bees and plants. Not only do they harm the pollination efforts of our winged friends, by causing reproductive issues, navigation issues, and even death; they harm other beneficial insects as well. Look for natural or organic options instead of traditional pesticides, but by all means reduce as much as possible.
2. Plant native wildflowers!
How great is that? For us California folks, some bee attracting wildflowers are:
Sunflowers and Lavender
If you do not have the space to plant wildflowers, grow an herb garden! Bee’s love Sage, Oregano, Rosemary and Spearmint.
3. Bees get thirsty!
All of that buzzing around, is busy and tiring work! Create a safe space where bees can rest and grab a quick sip of water. A simple birdbath or small dish will work perfectly. Don’t forget to add marbles or pebbles, giving them a place to stand.
4. Buy local raw honey!
Buying local fruits, vegetables and of course honey, is a quick way to support your local bees and beekeepers! By purchasing local honey, which supports your immune system and is proven to assist in fighting seasonal allergies, you are directly supporting the beekeepers who are on the frontlines of the conservation efforts.
The next time you take a bite out of a Honeycrisp Apple or enjoy a trip to the pumpkin patch, just remember to thank a bee, and do your part to keep them happy!