5 Things You Can Do to Help Save the Bees
Without the bees, you can say goodbye to avocado toast.
Though many people view bees as summertime pests, these little insects have a lot more impact on your life than you might realize. Without bees, some of your favorite foods wouldn’t exist. Some of the foods bees help produce by way of pollination are as follows: apples, oranges, blueberries, cherries, lemons, limes, broccoli, onions, cranberries, cucumbers (and pickles), carrots, cantaloupes, almonds, and avocados.
Yeah, bees are kind of a big deal when it comes to our diets.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for, say, 5-10 years, the bees have been experiencing some population issues. Around 2006, beekeepers started noticing large amounts of bees going missing. The culprit? Something dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder, which means worker bees started abandoning their hives, save for the queen and a few nurse bees to take care of the immature bees left behind. Without worker bees, the hive dies.
The future of the bees was looking dismal.
But the US Environmental Protection Agency states on their website that these threats caused by CCD have become lesser in the past five years. So we’re out of the woods, right?
The EPA also says that, according to data collected from beekeepers in 2014 and 2015, although CCD has declined, colony loss is still a prevalent concern. And that means our ecosystem and avocados are still at risk.
How you can help save the bees
To do your part, there are a few practices you can put into action at home that will help cultivate a healthy habitat for the bees and other pollinators that are crucial to our environment.
Plant native wildflowers. Since bees and wildflowers are meant to be together, you should plant native wildflowers to give the bees plenty of pollen and nectar. Native plants adapt better.
Stay away from pesticides. Most pesticide varieties—even the organic ones—are toxic to bees and other pollinators such as butterflies. Consider using natural techniques to ward off pests. These practices include crop rotation, row covers, trapping, and hand-picking. If you must use a pesticide, use it sparingly and not on an open bloom.
Diversify your garden. Having a variety of spring-, fall-, and winter-blooming (as well as annual) plants is crucial to accommodating the many types of bees that are active during different parts of the year.
Put up a bee hotel. If you really want to make sure the bees feel welcome, it’s not uncommon to put up a bee hotel or a bee block. Many types of bees nest in tunnels or tubes, so providing a place for them to do this such as a dry piece of wood with holes drilled in it is a very proactive practice.
Bee involved. Lastly, one of the best things you can do is to educate yourself on the organizations that support pollinators’ habitats and help spread the word. Pollinator Partnership offers educational tools (like a planting guide) and activities for you to better your bee knowledge.