How To Start Helping The Bee Population
By: Christy Erickson
Bees should be considered one of mankind’s best friends, and is one of the most important organisms on the planet. Their contribution to our food production cannot be overstated. As the Earth’s best animal pollinator, about one of every three bites of food you eat (and more if you’re a vegetarian) gets to your plate with the help of bees.
However, bee populations are not faring well and they need our help now more than ever. An unhealthy combination of pesticides, habitat destruction, climate change, and a variety of new pests have damaged bee colonies around the world. And while humans aren’t doing much to help them now, there things you can do to have a positive impact on bee populations. Here are a few ways you can make the world a little more bee-friendly:
Skip using pesticides in your home garden
In addition to killing bees, pesticides latch onto bees who bring it back to their nests and hives. Starting a backyard garden that’s catered to bees is one of the best things you can do to help protect and increase local bee populations (here are some tips on that). Even if you only have limited space, you can still use planters and pots to create a safe haven. Try planting natural pest-repellent plants in your garden like basil, fennel, and lemon balm instead of harmful pesticides.
Buy organic when possible
While organic foods at your local grocery store are a bit more expensive, purchasing organic fruits and vegetables can help bee populations on a global scale. Organic farmers don’t use chemical laden pesticides that harm bee colonies, so supporting them is akin to supporting the bees.
Don’t unroot all of your dandelions
One of the best lawn care tips for bees is to simply do nothing and leave your dandelions alone! Dandelions aren’t a perfect source of food for bees, but they are important during the early spring months when not much else is in bloom. Help get your bees through the hard part of spring and keep those dandelions.
Don’t swat bees
While this one may seem a bit obvious, it’s important to mention because many people don’t know that it’s a myth that bees often sting you. In fact, male bees do not sting at all. Female bees only sting when they feel threatened, or if you’re threatening their hive or nest. That bee buzzing around your head? Unless you’re stepping on its home, it’s probably not going to sting you. Swatting at the bee actually makes it more likely to attack.
Support bee charities and nonprofits
The Honeybee Conservancy, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Greenpeace, and The Xerces Society are just a few big name bee conservation groups. Making donations, sharing their message on social media, and getting involved with the groups on a direct level are ways to help them continue to do their good work. You can also call local apiaries and see if you can sponsor a hive.
The more you know about what things hurt and what things help bees, the more you’ll be able to influence your actions to better protect these incredible natural resources. Without bees, we’re not sure what the world would look like - but we know it could not be as beautiful a place.