Bee Kind and Bee Friendly!
May 20, 2019
Bees are a very important part of our eco-system. They are the main pollinators, especially honey bees, worldwide. Crops, plants, flowers and trees are dependent on pollinators as well as tropical forests, mangroves, woodland areas and deciduous forests. Why? Many species of plants and animals would not survive because the production of seeds, nuts, plants, fruits, and berries that depend highly on pollinators such as bees.
It is estimated that 1/3 of the food we consume daily depends on pollination. Here are some examples of food that require pollination: Melons, broccoli, squash, celery, cucumbers, cherries, citrus fruits, avocados, soy beans, sunflowers for oil and seeds, peaches and cranberries are just a few that depend on the bees. The blueberry and almond are dependent on the honey for commercial crops. It is also estimated that 80% of America’s crops are dependent on the pollination of the honey bee. Need some more proof why bees are import? Bees also help with the pollination of alfalfa and clover which helps feed cattle in the dairy and meat industries.
Bees are not just pollinators of food but they also play a very significant role in the pollination of cotton and flax. Also bees wax in itself is very important because it is used for things like candles, beauty and cleaning products. And let us not forget that bees are the honey makers of the world. So needless to say they are important and need protecting.
WHY ARE BEES IN DANGER?
Unfortunately the bee population has been declining and it’s very concerning. Several factors have contributed to their decline such as the following.’
Harmful Pesticides: Bee “unfriendly” pesticides can have a lasting effect on the bee population. Neonicotinoid’s are toxic to bees. The Neonicotnoid family includes acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world.
Climate Change: Flowers have been blooming earlier and when pollinators come out of hibernation the food they need from the flowers are already bloomed out.
Loss of Habitat: New commercial and residential development can cause loss to a bee’s habitat. Also abandoned farms being left behind without any crops or flowers for wildlife. Also gardens being planted with flowers that are not bee friendly.
Disease: Parasites such as mites weaken bees which leaves them more susceptible to pesticide poisoning.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Not only can you help the bees but you can have beautiful flowers, robust crops and healthy trees and plants by making some easy changes.
Buy plants that do not contain neonicotinoids. Organic nurseries and plants are a safe bet. Make sure to read the plant’s label before purchasing or question your nursery about any pesticides that may have been used on plants. More and more garden centers are starting to carry “bee friendly plants”. Home Depot phased out plants with neonicotinoids by 2018 and Lowes was to phase it out by 2019.
Say no and do not use chemical pesticides in your garden. Use non-toxic and safe products or better yet make your own eco-friendly pesticides. If you have someone who tends to you have a gardener or landscaper don’t forget to check with them about what they are using and make sure it is bee and environmentally safe. Check out this link to make your own eco-friendly pesticides and weed killers. https://gardencollage.com/wander/gardens-parks/home-gardeners-guide-safe-bee-friendly-pesticides/
Put a bee house in your yard. Bee homes help provide shelter from bad weather, predators and chemicals. You can order one online or make your own. Click link for DIY bee homes. https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/outdoors/gardening/build-a-backyard-bee-house
Make a bee water source. Bees can drown when trying to get some water. By making them a bee friendly water source you are providing them with a safer environment for their hydration. It’s very easy to make a bee water source. Click on this link for ideas. https://backyardbeekeeping.iamcountryside.com/health-pests/creating-the-best-water-sources-for-bees/
Make a “bee garden” and attract beautiful butterflies at the same time. Buy or grow bee friendly and attracting plants such as:
Check this link out to help with your bee friendly garden: https://davidsuzuki.org/queen-of-green/create-pollinator-friendly-garden-birds-bees-butterflies/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2b23oYeZ4gIVzsDACh3l6AAmEAAYAiAAEgLCYPD_BwE