Did you know we rely on honey bees for a third of our food supply? Among that are some of the foods we love most: vegetables, fruit, nuts, juice, smoothies and... ice-cream! Whenever we see a bee we should not show fear, but rather gratitude and love. Many of us are unaware that our food supply depends on bees, and so we fail to acknowledge their importance in our lives.
Bee numbers are falling rapidly. Many farmers in the U.S are having to import bees to pollinate essential crops. So where are the bees going?
Many beekeepers globally are struggling with a problem called 'colony collapse disorder’' where whole colonies of bees die, or mysteriously 'disappear'. The specific cause for colony collapse disorder is often unknown, but may be due to stressors like infections, malnutrition, habitat loss, and pollution.
Common pesticides, especially those containing neonicotinoids, are very harmful to bees. As bees go about their business of gathering pollen from blossoms, they also collect whatever chemicals that plant has been exposed to. Their bodies are working overtime to remove chemical toxins, so they have no resources left to build their immune systems and resist viral infections.
Other factors such as Varroa mites, malnutrition, habitat loss, and environmental stressors have negative impacts on bee populations. We need to take much better care of our bees and support them to ensure their survival.
How you can help:
The good news is that in some places, bees are surviving better in areas where they are safe from crop spraying. This means we can make a huge difference in our own backyards.
- Respect the role of bees and let them live.
- Educate others of bees' importance and vulnerable situation.
- Teach your children how special bees are when it comes to our food.
- Share your awareness and gratitude for bees.
- Plant more flowering plants, and refrain from using chemicals. Consider buying or making a bee house to support bees.
- Consider beekeeping for a new hobby.
- Support organic farmers and local beekeepers.
- Support groups, companies and charities that are helping bees.