It’s summer; it’s the time of the year when the bees should be buzzing all over the place, going about their work as diligently as only they can. But something seems to have gone wrong. Have you noticed how there just aren’t that many bees around as there used to be in the past?
Yes, the bees seem to have vanished from our surroundings, especially in Europe and North America. You don’t have to familiar sight of the domesticated honeybees buzzing around any longer. In some places, the loss of bees has been as high as 75 percent.
This phenomenon is called the vanishing bee syndrome or the colony collapse disorder (CCD). Scientists still don’t have a clue as to what is going on, and why bee colonies are disappearing all of a sudden.
It seems that the bees just leave their traditional hives and don’t come back. What’s happening here? Does the vanishing of bees have anything to do with the increasing use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified crops? Is climate change responsible for this? Some say that cell phone radiation is causing bees to leave the cities. Is that true?
We don’t know as yet. But the importance of bees to the natural ecosystem and our collective well-being cannot be emphasized enough. Bees are responsible for pollinating most of our crops – soybeans, strawberries, apples, blueberries and more.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one-third of what we eat depends on pollination by bees. If bees were to simply disappear, food production would suffer greatly around the world. The livelihood of farmers, beekeepers and other agricultural workers would be in serious jeopardy. The seriousness of the situation cannot be overstated.
What can you, as an ordinary person do to save the bees? Is there anything you can do?
Yes! Change begins with you and with all of us. It’s time to put our heads together and unite for a common cause. Let’s save our bees!
Here are five easy ways you can help to save the bees this summer!
1. Smart Gardening: Plant things that bees like
Bees go where the pollen is. If you want to support the growth of the bee population, then plant bee-friendly plants that feed them.
Examples of bee-friendly plants are sage, lavender, salvia, oregano, ironweed, yarrow, honeywort, yellow hyssop, alfalfa, dragonhead, echinacea, buttercup, bee balm, English thyme, and goldenrod.
Bee-friendly plants are easy to grow. Just scatter them across the yard, so that there is sufficient supply of pollen through summer and spring. Remember, bees love flowers that are yellow, purple or blue. Avoid plants that are “double” or have extra petals rather than anthers.
Also plant bee-friendly flowering trees such as sourwoods, tulip poplars, oranges, and tupelos. The advantage of bee-friendly plants is that pests such as wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets find them repulsive. They keep the air in your garden clean and fresh.
Also, stop controlling your garden so much. Allow some weeds to grow. Weeds such as a flowering dandelion, for example, can have as many as a hundred florets – and will have the bees buzzing all over them
2. Buy Organic Food Only
The most powerful way to support bees is to buy only organic food. You can make a decision right now to buy only organic fruits and vegetables. Shop at the local farmer's markets or organic food stores only.
When everyone starts buying organic foods, that encourages farmers around the world to grow food without the use of any chemical fertilizers or pesticides. We discuss why chemical fertilizers and pesticides are so dangerous for bees in the next point.
But here’s what you should know – there is nothing to beat fresh seasonal organically grown food when it comes to taste and nutritious content. Also, going organic in a big way really helps reduce the carbon footprint. This is a win-win for all of us in every way possible.
3. Avoid Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides
Make no mistake: chemical fertilizers and pesticides are the biggest killers of bees. They are bad enough for the health of humans; they are much worse for bees.
The disappearance of bees from our world over the last 20 – 25 years coincides with the increasing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in our farms. This is a dangerous situation, one that actually affects the livelihood of our farmers.
Farmers must be educated about the harm caused by chemical fertilizers and pesticides and given incentives by the government, nonprofits and the food industry to stop using them.
Instead, farmers should be encouraged to use organic and natural methods of pest control. You can set an example by following the principles of organic gardening and natural pest control in your garden. Bees love chemical-free plants and gardens.
4. Build Bee-Friendly Shelters in Your Property
Bees need a secure place to live. They usually make use of dead trees, branches, abandoned animal barrows and underground nest tunnels to build their hives.
You can do your bit by building inexpensive bee blocks in your property, such as blocks of wood with holes of different sizes. You can be sure that once the bees feel its secure enough, they are going to set up a beehive there real soon.
Also, leave a small saucer filled with fresh water close to the bee shelter. Bees need water much like any natural creature, and fresh water sources are so difficult to find, especially in cities.
5. Buy Honey and Support Our Beekeepers!
The best way to restore the bee population is to support beekeepers. And that means supporting beekeepers. Beekeeping is no longer as profitable as it used to be in the past, because of the declining population of bees.
If you want to support our beekeepers and encourage more people to take up beekeeping as a professionally, buy honey. Honey is not only tasty, but it also has some amazing health benefits.
There are so many healthy and yummy recipes you can prepare with honey, such as Creamy Oatmeal with Honey and Christmas Spices, Roasted pears with Ricotta and Honey, Breakfast Cookies with Dates, Almonds and Honey and much more.
At Nordic Honey, we partner with a handful of small local apiaries to offer only organically certified honey of the highest quality. Visit our online store for the world’s best Organic Gourmet Honey!