Have you heard about the missing bees? It seems that honeybees in the United States and Europe have been dying at an alarming rate. A condition called “colony collapse disorder,” or CCD has left beekeepers in a lurch.
Why are Bees Vanishing?
What’s Going On?
It appears that pesticides, disease and weather are to blame according to this Harvard Study.
Not Just Honeybees
Did you know that there are more than 25,000 species of bees in the world? Most of them are not honeybees or bumblebees but are wild bees or solitary bees that do not colonize in a group. That’s a good thing, but it does not help beekeepers produce honey, or farmers who bring in -truck -loads of bees every year from beekeepers to help pollinate their crops. Worse yet, some suspect that the wild bees and the bumblebee are also starting to decrease in number.
Why Do We Care?
Other than the simple fact that it is sad, maybe even scary to see a major species dying out, we really need these guys. Nevermind the fact that no bees equals no honey; we also depend on bees to pollinate so much of our food. So many plants that produce fruit needs bees to pollinate its flowers. And I mean fruit in the plant sense which includes fruits, vegetables and nuts. Lastly, considering that our livestock is fed from these plants they are also affected which in turn affects our supply of meat and dairy.
Things We Can Do To Help
Plant Bee Friendly Plants
Bees enjoy plants that are rich in pollen and nectar. Heirloom and natives that are fragrant and have bright colors are good options to attract the bees. Check out this pretty poster from Etsy. It’s a great graphic about how to attract bees to the garden.
Make a Bee Hotel
Tie a bunch of bamboo or hollow sticks together or drill holes in a block of wood for wild bees to nest in. Find out how you can make one here. You can also buy one on Amazon like this:
Create a Bee Bath
Set out a swallow dish with fresh water, or simply place some stones in your birdbath so that the bees have something to stand on while they drink.
Become a Beekeeper
Beekeeping is an affordable hobby that doesn’t take much more time than vegetable gardening and is so rewarding. Check out this article about a passionate beekeeper here. Here’s a starter kit that has everything you need.
Shop at a local nursery if possible and check to see if they use pesticides on their plants. So now that you know more about our bee dilemma spread the word. This story would make for a perfect conversation starter at your get together. And dare I say, everyone will think you are “The Bees Knees.”