This is a guest post by Christy Erickson of SavingOurBees.org.
Bees aren’t annoying, buzzy pests that sting you at the pool. Bees are actually beautiful, complex creatures that we, as humans, depend on for more than many of us know. Without bees, life would be very different for you and me. It’s vital that we understand exactly how bees play a major role in our ecosystem so that we can be motivated to do everything we can to help protect their population.
Why should I care about bees?
If you like to eat, you should care about the bees. It’s that simple. Since we need food to survive, it stands to reason that you should want to protect the things that make it possible for you to have said food.
Bees are one of the most important pollinators in the animal kingdom. Without bees, our pollination system would be greatly diminished. Without natural pollination, fruit and vegetable production is harmed. Without robust fruit and vegetable production, raising livestock becomes more difficult. You can see the trend here.
“Humans depend on bees to fertilize the plants and make them a food source. Without bees, we would have reduced food sources. In fact, there are several fruits and vegetables which depend on the process of pollination to be fertilized and some of them include apples, watermelons, pears, strawberries, corn, cucumbers, almonds and tomatoes,” says The New Ecologist.
You also have bees to thank for honey and beeswax, obviously – both of which are vital to the production of many products we all use every day. If you care about living in a world filled with trees, plants, flowers, and food – you must care about the health of our bee colonies around the globe.
How can I help protect the bees?
With bee populations in decline due to climate change, habitat destruction, and the widespread use of pesticides in commercial farming, there’s no time to waste. You can help local bee populations in a big way by making a few small lifestyle changes.
First, you should always buy local and organic when possible. Oftentimes it’s tough and cost-prohibitive, but you should make the effort to shop smarter whenever you can. Even if you can’t buy organic produce all the time, try to limit your honey purchases to smaller, local apiaries. Local beekeepers are more likely to raise their bees in an eco-friendly manner.
If you have green space at your home, you should do whatever you can to make it friendly to bees. Consider planting a fruit and vegetable garden, or even a pollinator garden. Be sure, however, to avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides for your plants and flower gardens. Instead, try natural remedies like herb spray, white vinegar, and bug-repellent crops like lavender and basil. Try to leave at least some of your backyard unkempt, as some bees like to nest in piles of brush, wood, and other natural structures. Leave a small, shallow water bath filled with landing stones for the bees. Taking these few, small steps will ensure that your yard is a place where bees can thrive.
In the end, you may need to use your voice and your wallet in the fight to protect the bees. Getting involved in conservation groups, writing your congresspeople, and signing/starting petitions can help. Buying local and organic, or sponsoring a hive is a good way to put your money where your mouth is. We don’t know what a world with fewer bees would look like exactly, but we do know that it would put a strain on our agricultural practices.
Photo Credit: Arlouk on Pixabay.com