The Why of Disappearing Bees and How You Can Help

By Guest

Every continent in the world except Antarctica has bees present, and they live in all types of climates. While some bees live in hives, most native bees live in the ground or in wood cavities. Despite their capability to live almost anywhere, the habitats of bees are being destroyed at an alarming rate. According to Save the Bees, grassland prairies were once thriving with habitats that supported many bees, but they’re functionally non-existent with a loss of nearly 99.9 percent in the last 150 years. Other types of ecosystems have seen similar losses.

Read more about our visit to the bee farm

What’s Killing the Bees and Why Humans Need Them

Increasing human populations that turn habitats into farmland and suburban and urban areas are the main cause of the destruction of bees. The agricultural and suburban growth has lead to an increase in pesticide use, destruction of wildflowers and other food sources, and other issues that are detrimental to bees and their habitats. Even the demand for honeybee populations (to pollinate crops and create honey) can have a negative impact on native bees if beekeepers don’t carefully select spots for hives. Honeybees face a similar fate as native bees and for mostly the same reasons.

Humans rely heavily on bees to survive. Global Research states, “… no other single animal species plays a more significant role in producing the fruits and vegetables that we humans commonly take for granted yet require near daily to stay alive…” In fact, honeybees and native bees pollinate an estimated 80 percent of all food crops in the United States, which equates to an estimated $40 billion each year.

How You Can Help the Bees

Whether you have a balcony retreat, backyard oasis, or community garden, you can help provide a space for bees and the raw materials for their nests. Many bees nest in the ground, so leave open patches of bare soil. Other bees prefer dead wood for nesting areas, such as a stump or a pile of stems and twigs. You can also create a nesting site by drilling holes into an untreated wood block. Most people clean up their gardens in the fall, but waiting until late spring leaves perennials and grasses for shelter in the winter.

You can also develop a diverse selection of food that’s available during all seasons. When choosing plants, opt for ones that are native to your area and that feature single flower tops rather than double flower tops, which produce much less nectar and make pollen difficult to access. “Skip the highly hybridized plants, which have been bred not to seed and thus produce very little pollen for bees,” says The Honeybee Conservatory.

Plant at least three different types of flowers with different blooming times. For spring, hyacinth, wild lilacs, and crocus are good options. Summertime options include hostas, cosmos, and snapdragons. For fall, choose goldenrods, zinnias, and asters. If you’re tight on space, plant flowers in window boxes, planters, and pots. Some plants that thrive in planters and attract bees include white sea thrift, catmint, alyssum, Kent Beauty Oregano, irises, and crocus.

Read more about attracting beneficial bugs to your garden

Tips for Creating a Garden

When starting a garden, the first step is to determine what you want to grow. This will determine the space you need and the location of your garden. You should also consider the quality of the soil. Once the seeds or plants are in the soil, you’ll need to make daily checks for water intake and to ensure damage from the weather or wildlife hasn’t occurred.

Gardening doesn’t just benefit the bees; you’ll also benefit from having a garden. Gardening is often viewed as a calming activity because it’s proven to relieve stress and improve mental health. It’s also an excellent form of exercise that burns as many calories as an intense cardio workout. Additionally, it can lessen the risk of osteoporosis, dementia, and diabetes.

A non-health benefit of growing a garden is the sense of satisfaction you’ll feel after seeing your hard work come to life and knowing that it serves the purpose of saving the bees, who desperately need our help. You can also provide shelter for bees and limit your use of pesticides to provide further help. Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate, and if we don’t step in to help, it will be detrimental to our futures and the future of almost every ecosystem.

Author Bio: Christy Erickson is the founder of Savingourbees. Her aim is to collect and distribute the most accurate and up-to-date resources on the bee crisis and information on how to help in the community.

By Guest| August 03, 2017
Categories:  Live

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