This year for Mother’s Day, do something a little different. Rescue some bees. You can get your mom some bee friendly flowers for her garden, donate to a bee worthy cause, or help her make bee friendly hives for her garden. Honey Bees have been vanishing from all over the U.S., and with them our way of life.
Carrot Cake, Apple Strudel, Blueberry Scones, Cherry Tarts, Pumpkin Pie, Guacamole, Broccoli Quiche, French Onion Soup, Butternut Squash with Cinnamon, Almond Butter. These delectable foods and desserts are an example of some of the foods that will disappear from our diet if we can’t keep the bees healthy and put a stop to Colony Collapse Disorder. These foods, Carrots, Apples, Blueberries, Cherries, Pumpkins and Squash, Avocados, Broccoli, Almonds, and Onions, simply won’t grow without the help of pollinating bees, specifically honey bees. In fact, $15 billion worth of U.S. crops are at risk because of the disappearance of bees.
Why are the bees disappearing? Beekeepers noticed odd behavior in bees and sounded the alarm when seemingly healthy bees began abandoning their hives in 2006. An estimated one third of all honey bees in the U.S. have disappeared. Poof. They have simply flown off.
Scientists attribute the vanishing bees to a number of different factors, including inadequate food supply, pesticide use, and a new virus. The inadequate food supply is due to human activity, building homes in previously open spaces, planting gardens that don’t provide bees the resources they need to survive, spraying pesticides specifically targeted at bees. We might like their honey, but most people don’t like having the bees buzzing about their backyard BBQ. Sadly, our dislike has parlayed itself into acts that damage Bee habitats, and therefore ourselves. Bees play a critical, and irreplaceable role in our food supply, and we should do what we can to help bring them back. But what can we do?
The National Resources Defense Council has a few ideas:
Bee Native: Use local and native plants in your yard and garden. These plants thrive easily and are well suited for local bee populations, providing pollen and nectar for bees to eat.
Bee Diverse:Plant lots of different kinds of plants in your yard. Plant diversity ensures that your garden attracts many different varieties of bees and gives them a range of flowering plants to choose from throughout the year. Make sure your yard plants vary in:
Color: Bees have good vision and are attracted to several different colors of flowers.
Shape: Different species of bees are better suited for different shapes of flowers. Give your bees some variety!
Flowering times: Having a sequence of plant species that flower throughout the year helps sustain the food supply and attract different species of bees.
Bee Pesticide Wary: There are many natural methods to control pests in your garden. Researchers believe pesticides are a contributing factor to Colony Collapse Disorder. Moreover, some insecticides are harmful to bees and wipe out flowers that provide bees with food. If you must, use targeted pesticides and spray at night — when bees aren’t active — on dry days.
Bee a Hive Builder: Building your own bee hive is easy and fun. Creating a wood nest is a good place to start — wood-nesting bees dont sting! Simply take a non-pressure treated block of wood and drill holes that are 3/32 inch to 5/16 inch in diameter and about 5 inches deep and wait for the bees to arrive.
For more ideas on helping the honeybee, you can visit HelptheHoneybees.com, this Haagen-Dazs supported website offers articles on the Bee Crises, links to ideas on how to help, and more. You can also visit and support the PennState Bee research and UCDavis’s research. To be more personally involved in the solution join The Hunt for Bees at The Great Sunflower Project. Check out the articles at The Daily Green for more ideas.
The N.Y. Times provided this map tracking the bee disappearances, along with some well written articles on the issue. Click on the map for a link to one of their articles.
The time to act is here, losing the bees will have a direct effect on your lifestyle. No more strawberries on a hot summer day, or piping hot slices of All American apple pie when it’s cold outside. We need the bees. Plant a bee garden, get a hive going, donate to organizations that are trying to make a difference, do something.
This year for Mother’s Day, help your mom be a source of change, and save a few bees.
What better way to celebrate Mom, than to save the world’s fruits and veggies?