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Why and How to Save the Bees

Image result for bee population declineFrom Charity Owl.

Last weekend, South Carolina sprayed pesticides in an attempt to kill Zika infested mosquitos. Instead, they killed millions of honey bees. At the Flowerton Bee Farm and Supply in Summerville, 46 hives (or about 2.5 million bees) were killed on the spot by pesticide poisoning. This damage, while it may seem minuscule in comparison to the looming threat of Zika, is just one of many hits that the bee population has taken in recent years. Pesticide spraying, destruction of habitat, and loss of biodiversity has created a bee death pandemic. Since 2006, honey bees have been dying off rapidly, inspiring concern among farmers and scientists about the future of produce production and, more broadly, human survival.

Common bees are overlooked as one of the most helpful and industrious animals in the animal planet. As pollinators, bees are incredibly hard-workers. They pollinate 1/6th of the world’s flowering plants and 400 different agricultural plants. From rapeseed and sunflowers to cocao beans and coffee, bees are an essential part of global agriculture. Without them, up to 1/3rd of the foods we consider diet “staples” would cease to exist, and feeding the world’s growing population would become a nearly impossible task.

Why Save Bees?

Can you imagine living in a world where broccoli, cucumbers, pumpkins, apples, cherries, and blueberries are no longer available? How about a world without honey or many of your favorite flowers? A world without a thriving bee population is a world in danger of starvation, ecological destruction, and various kinds of animal extinction. Unfortunately, the bee population is currently in a lot of trouble. Back in 2007, a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder struck the U.S and killed 1/3rd of all bee colonies. Though beekeepers have been working to increase bee populations, they continue to decline year after year, and every new blow has disastrous potential. Several bee species are at risk of permanent extinction. It is up to governments, industries, and individuals to ensure that bee populations do not dwindle too low and cause a chain-reaction that may lead to the extinction of other animals and crops.

What You Can Do

As a homeowner, there are several easy steps you can take to make your yard more “bee-friendly” and encourage bee population growth. Consider the following:

  1. Let dandelions and clovers grow in your yard. These plants provide nourishment for hungry bees.
  2. Limit use of commercial pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Chemicals in these agents are just as harmful to bees as they are to pests. Look for alternative when possible (ie. compost over chemical fertilizers).
  3. Eat and buy local honey. Help local beekeepers by supporting their business and their bees! Plus, honey is absolutely delicious in almost anything and can help fight seasonal allergies.
  4. Plant lots of flowers. This one is easy—both bees and human beings love a bright, colorful, sweet-smelling landscape. Planting sunflowers, poppies, lavender, butterfly bush, and other aromatic flowers will encourage help bees thrive.
  5. Spread awareness. Though Americans consume millions of pounds of food every year, not all of us know where that food comes from and how essential bees are to agriculture. Tell others about declining bee populations and encourage them to care for local bees. Maybe a few friends or family members will decide to watch over some hives of their own!

 

For more information on bee population decline, check out http://www.globalresearch.ca/death-and-extinction-of-the-bees/5375684


2 Comments

  1. Fern Henley says:

    Bees medicine is propolis, right? Is there any particular plant that will contribute to the production of propolis?

    • admin says:

      Hey Fern,
      Propolis is created by bees as a sealant to close unwanted open spaces in the hive. It’s a mixture created from bee saliva, beeswax and pollen/sap. And yes, we harvest it for it’s medicinal properties. So, while there is no plant in particular that leads to the direct creation of propolis, there are a number of a plants that could be beneficial; namely any native plants that attract pollinators. Creating a good environment for the bees, with plants they like, will ultimately lead to the creation of more propolis. Bees like abelia, butterfly bush, holly, and plenty of other plants. If you are looking to do some more research, visit this link https://www.plantvirginianatives.org/planting-natives-to-attract-pollinators-and-birds. Thank you for your questions and we hope all is well!

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