Bee populations are declining. The concerns are that bees support up to $20 billion world’s crop production. In Colorado, for instance, beekeepers have reported losing 30 percent of honeybee colonies each winter. According to National Geographic, bee colonies have been disappearing rapidly for the past 15 years all over the world. The decline in the population of bees could only mean one thing: it is only a matter of time before crop production starts declining too.
One factor that has lead to the bees’ disappearance is a condition known as colony collapse disorder. Symptoms of this disorder include malnutrition, the use of pesticides, absence of genetic biodiversity, and climate change. Saving the bees is critical, as they are a crucial asset of the agricultural system. Without bees, there would be no almonds, strawberries, and alfalfa for farmers to feed their cows.
Here are some of the ways you can help save the bees.
- Let Your Lawn Be Natural
Let your yard provide the natural habitat that bees need. That means that you should let the dandelions and clover grow at different corners of your lawn. As much as a manicured one looks attractive, it won’t be doing the bees any favors. By providing this natural habitat, not only will you save the time and probably money you spend mowing your lawn, but you will also be sustaining the bee population. If possible, plant bee-friendly flowers like lavender and sunflowers.
- Say No to Pesticides and Herbicides
Chemical treatments that are used in gardens cause damage to the ecosystem, and specifically, the bee colonies. Pesticides and herbicides contain chemicals that are harmful to the bees. If you spray pesticides when the flowers are in bloom, the bees will collect the contaminated nectar and take it to the hive. This means that there is a high possibility that the chemicals will end up in your body. Colony collapse disorder has been linked to nicotine-based pesticides. Instead of using chemicals to treat your garden, go for organic solutions like introducing beneficial worms into your garden.
- Buy Honey
Shop responsibly by supporting by purchasing honey alongside fruits and veggies. By supporting beekeepers, you will be supporting the survival of the bee colonies. If you buy honey, you are sending a strong message to the beekeepers, showing your appreciation and support for their sustainable and earth-friendly beekeeping. By doing so, they will be motivated to continue upholding the natural way of keeping bees. In the process, you will also be doing your body a favor by avoiding the consumption of honey from chemically treated hives.
- Avail Water
Simple acts like keeping a basin of water in your garden or outside your house will save the bees. Bees need water too. Unfortunately, most of the water they get access to is contaminated by waste from manufacturing plants which leads to their death. Water is a critical ingredient to “bee bread.” This is a combination of enzymes, water, and pollen which bees store and ferment then later use to feed developing larvae.
Providing safe water for the bees will contribute significantly to keeping them around and supporting the expansion of the bee colonies.
- Be Informed
Familiarizing yourself with agricultural practices that rely on bees will save the bees. One of the factors that contribute to the decline of the population of bees is migratory beekeeping. Commercial beekeepers rent out their hives to farmers for pollination. As much as this practice supports the livelihood of the beekeepers and farmers, it is harmful.
For instance, moving bees around the country facilitate the transfer of diseases and pathogens as bees interact in the fields. The migration is disorienting to the bees, and it threatens their very existence. Eventually, such agricultural practices will lead to a decrease in the population of bees. There is, therefore, the need to amend the way agriculture is conducted. You can use other pollinators like birds to transfer pollen from one flower to another.
- Build a Bee Box
Bees have different preferences for habitats. Some nest in wood while others do so in mud. In other cases, they build their homes in the ground. One of the reasons that the bee population is declining is the loss of habitat as a result of climatic change.
Building a native space for them will go a long way in helping the populations recover. A simple structure consisting of logs with holes drilled in them and bricks will do. You could also buy an already made hanging bee hotel.
Bees help keep the planet green: they pollinate about eighty percent of the flowering plants. To help protect these buzzworthy creatures, assist in providing a natural habitat for them, and avoid practices that threaten their existence.