I look forward to spring every year. Not just because I am over winter before it even begins, but it’s the time of year that the honey bees arrive. We sit outside in the sun for hours relaxing, watching the bees go from clover to clover. Yes, I have an entire yard full of clovers..
Here in the United States, the bee population as well as other pollinators such as butterflies have declined over the years. Heavy usage of pesticides and climate change all affect habitat loss. There are many things we can do to help save the bees, but first let’s see why it is so important to protect the pollinators.
Why are bees important?
You may have heard that if bees die off, human life would soon perish as well. This is because bees play a very important part in our food sources. Bees pollinate many food crops. Here in the south, there are many citrus trees that are pollinated by bees.
Did you know that bumble bees are responsible for pollinating some of your favorite fruits and vegetables? Some of your favorites, such as tomatoes, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, eggplants, and peppers, just to name a few.
Why are bees dying?
- Climate Change
Climate change is responsible for so many things, including the reduction of bees. You may have noticed that the seasons are starting to blend. Winters are shorter, and with this, flowers start to bloom earlier. The problem with that is bees may not be available for the flowers when they bloom.
- Habitat Destuction
More trees and land are being cleared out each year. They are being replaced with homes and buildings. The problem with this is no one is replanting trees for the ones that are being replaced. Not only does this effect climate change, but it also is a reason pollinators are losing their habitats.
The heavy use of pesticides in the United States is a growing problem. With the increase demand for food production, more chemicals are being sprayed to prevent crops from dying. Bees and other beneficial insects are killed from pesticides, which is reducing the population.
How can we save the bees?
- Support local farmers
Visiting your local farmer’s market is one of the best sources for organic farmed produce and vegetables. In addition, you may be able to find local honey. Not only will the honey be local, it will be raw honey. Raw honey is not only a tasty sweetener, but it is also great for medicinal purposes.
- Plant a bee garden
Having a bee friendly garden is very easy to do. You can start by planting some flowering plants that are native to your area. This will attract native bees and other pollinators. I love to plant zinnias every year. They make beautiful, colorful flowers and attract both bees and butterflies.
- Say no to pesticides
Omitting the use of a pesticide in your garden will help build bee habitats. Not only are pesticides harmful for insects, but they are terrible for your health as well. Many people are allergic to the chemicals that are in pesticides, which can cause rashes and allergic flare-ups. This is also one source of pollution in the air.
- Support local beekeepers
Beekeepers work hard to protect the environment for bees. Seminars are hosted to provide education on the importance of the survival of the bee colonies. They remove and replace bees into a safe habitat. You can support your local beekeepers by making a donation, buying local honey, and taking part in other events they host throughout the year.
No matter your stance, pollinators are very important. You can be a bee lover like me, or just concerned about the future of the world. Look at one of the ways you can support the bees and take action. Small action among many will equal a huge change for us all.