Sure, you’ve heard that the bees are in trouble – that they’re disappearing, colonies are dying, even that seven species were recently placed on the endangered species list.
You might be a little unclear on the reasons why this is a problem for humans, so let me sum up: bees are pollinators, which means we depend on them in order to grow much of our produce. Around 30% of the world’s crops rely on cross-pollination to thrive, so if you enjoy things like bananas and coffee, you might want to take a look at the list below.
They’re small things, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference!
#6. Don’t be so quick to pull your weeds
Dandelions and clovers might annoy gardeners, but bees love the substantial nutrients they provide. Dandelions are especially beneficial: they flower early and stay open late, and they house up to 100 florets full of food – and not just for bees. Butterflies, beetles and hoverflies (all pollinators!) love them, too.
#5. Send some emails to your local representatives
There are petitions out there that will let your elected officials know that you care about the disappearing bee population – this one asks the EPA to suspend the use of pesticides, and this site has a whole host of potential actions/petitions. Take it to the streets, people!
#4. Plant a garden with bee-friendly flowers
Fewer people are planting gardens, and urban development means fewer wildflowers, too, which can leave bees short on food. If you want to help, plant flowers at home that are native to your area; focus particularly on single flower tops (like marigolds, tulips, and daisies). If you can, choose plants that flower at different times of the year, so that you have something flowering in the spring, summer, and fall.
You can even leave a place in your garden for bees to burrow, and add branches for wood-nesting bees. And never use artificial pesticides and fertilizers.
If you’re feeling motivated to do a little bit more, there are plenty of ways to go the extra mile: host a bee hive, even if you live in an urban area, or sign up for the Back Yard Beekeepers Association, which provides information for newbies to the culture.
#2. Grab some cool products at the store
If planting a garden or maintaining a traditional hive seems like too much work, then there are some low-maintenance options. One is seed bombs, which can be tossed in your backyard or an empty lot to produce patches of wildflowers. This “seed money‘” and these pencils can also be planted as a simple way to grow flowering plants.
Alternatively, there’s the Flow Hive, a beehive that’s super simple to set up and use – the honey even comes out of a tap!
#1. Buy local raw honey
I love buying honey. When I’m on a road-trip, and I see a sign for honey (and usually jam – sometimes pie!) I can never resist stopping to fill a basket – they really do taste different depending on what flowers and plants the bees pollinate, and, let’s be real, you can never have too much honey.
And don’t worry about harming the bees – the local beekeepers know what they’re doing, and the bees make a surplus that would just go to waste.