Often misunderstood, honeybees play a major role in our ecosystem and our economy. First and foremost, they pollinate wildflowers to keep our planet lush and beautiful. Second, they pollinate the fruits and vegetables we consume each day. Third, they produce honey, a natural sweetener we use in most of our foods. But what happens if they disappear forever?
Over the past several years, the honeybee population has seen a major decline. Factors that contribute to the decline of the honeybee population include the loss of their habitats, our excessive use of pesticides, the invasion of other species, the surge of diseases such as colony collapse disorder, and the loud sounds and vibrations produced by heavy types of machinery such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers. As the honey bee population continue to decline, so will our favorite foods. The next time you take a bite out of an apple, order fries at the drive through, or add honey to your tea — think about how it got there. What part of the process did the honey bee contribute to?
The Honeybees Are Disappearing. Here’s What You Can Do to Help:
- Support Local Beekeepers. Purchase them from local beekeepers rather than large chain manufacturers. Beekeepers are passionately committed to protecting the bee population. Each jar of honey purchased is a jar of honey that will support their cause. Plus, beekeepers give you the good stuff — real raw honey, rather the filtered, sugary substitute you find at your big chain supermarket.
- Avoid Pesticides and Buy Organic. If you like to grow flowers, plants, and other greeneries outside of your home, avoid harsh toxic pesticides. They are harmful to the environment and the bees. Instead, use non-toxic and non-chemical treatments such as EcoSMART or your own homemade solution. You can also use other insects such as ladybugs, spiders, and praying mantises to keep pests away from your garden. This will create a safer environment for the honeybees to explore and pollinate.
- Plant a Bee Garden. Plant flowers and native plants in your yard to help feed bees and other pollinators. Here is more information on how to perfect your bee garden and here is more information on how to grow a general “backyard wildlife habitat”. Some weeds may be golden food for the honeybees too.
- Leave a Water Bowl Out For the Bees. Don’t have pets? No problem! Your bees can become your pets. Leave a small bowl of water outside for the bees to drink and enjoy. Bees appreciate this after a long and hot day of work. They’ll thank you and buzz with happiness.
- Educate, Educate, Educate. Use your voice and spread awareness on the importance of honeybee protection. Contrary to popular belief, they are not as scary as people think they are. Just like you and me — they’re just looking for some love. Get involved with your community and volunteer at a local beekeeper shelter, local environmental centers, or local agriculture and nature centers.
The next time you encounter a honeybee, don’t hurt or irritate it. Instead, keep this article in mind and remember to protect the honeybees!