Why the bees?
With almost 1/3 of our food supply closely linked to pollination, this is an issue that matters to you. Blueberries, papaya, almonds and apples, and many other fruits, veggies, grains and nuts depend on pollinating birds and insects like the honeybee.
While the previously mentioned foods may not cease to exist without the popular honeybee assisting them, there would be a significant downgrade in taste and nutritional value.
What can you do to help?
Plant a Bee Friendly Garden
Image via Honeybee Conservancy
The Honeybee Conservancy says that to create a garden environment that is inviting to bees, you want as many flowering plants as possible (these are their food and habitat source. What kinds are best? For starters, choose flowers that are native to your area. These local flowers are ideal sources for bees in your region. Check with your local botanical garden or nursery for suggestions. Single top flowers like daisies and marigolds produce lots of nectar and are easy for bees to access.
Resource: Bee friendly plant ideas
Create a Bee Habitat
image via The Reremouse
Bees native to your area don't build structures like honeybees or wasps, but they still need somewhere to nest and get protection. While different species have different needs, we have some good insights into what kind of environment each prefers. Wood-nesting bees like soft twigs or tunnels in old dead trees (still standing), while ground-nesting bees like to tunnel underground. Don't forget cavity nesting bumble bees! These fellas are social and like small underground spaces like abandoned rodent burrows. One easy way to help, is if you do any kind of excavating or digging this summer, leave a good sized pile of soil for them to nest in.
Resource: Make a Bee Hotel
Bees & Pesticides
Image via Inhabitat
This is a controversial and somewhat muddied topic. Originally tied to pesticides known as neonicotinoids, a massive surge in bee deaths in California in 2004 raised major concerns and even resulted in European bans on the chemical. While there is a natural loss of bees every winter (approx 10-15% of their population), such a spike raises questions. Those who disagree with the blame being laid at the feet of neonics would claim that there is no scientific tie-in and the bee collapse is not truly "a big deal anymore". They point to the age-old challenges bees have always faced: running out of honey over the winter, blood-sucking mites, and unhealthy queens.
Resource: 10 Ways to Protect Bees from Pesticides
Backyard Beekeeping; Your new hobby!
Image via treehugger.com
There is no question that beekeeping as a hobby is back in vogue. Beekeeping kits, books and educational resources abound for those interested in getting into the honey-making activity.
For a step by step beginners guide, check out this quick guide from treehugger.com.
Spread the word!
image via Center For Food Safety
Initiated by the Pollinator Partnership, national Pollinator week is a collective effort by activists, garden clubs and concerned individuals who work to share the importance of pollinators such as bees, birds, butterflies and bats. Taking place every June, you're invited to get involved by hosting or attending events in your area. Fore more on the organization, visit www.pollinator.org.