The Bee’s Knees – News You Can Use

Welcome to my new blog where you can find information and the latest news in ecological design, permaculture and restoring our Earth one step at a time. Join me on this journey to create a happier and healthier planet, ~ Lisa Miller

Maiden edition –

Where are all the bees? Dwindling Pollinators and What You Can Do to Help Them

I wrote this article for the love and sake of bees and I am dedicating my blog to helping the planet and all of its creatures with news you can use; from something as small as a bee to as big as a rain garden.

Any links found in this article are for informational purposes only and are not affiliates; I do not receive credit or compensation from any source listed.

With spring just around the corner, plant and seed catalogs in the mail, and nurseries stocking up for sales I have been thinking a lot about the bees and other pollinators. Growing up I was only ever stung twice; first by a bee I disturbed, and second by stepping on a dead bee (and got the stinger stuck – deep), but for some reason I am not really scared of bees. And truly now I know those were not likely one of our beloved bumble bees that were stinging me, but a wasp or other bee.

The last couple of years I had been hearing about the devastating declines in various bee populations over and over from different sources and I first wondered is this really news or are we just noticing it, and if it is news why is this happening now?

It turns out it really is sad news and it is happening because – well – us humans have tampered with so many things that affect bees they just can’t take it anymore and are dying off in mass numbers (42 percent of bee colonies collapsed in the United States alone in 2015, (nrdc.org). I won’t get into too many details here as there is not likely one single cause, but the major one is the exponential increase in the use of pesticides, both in large scale agriculture and residential scale products. More than 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used annually (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) that’s a lot. Yuck!

Okay, you are possibly thinking “just because she likes bees, I hate them, so what’s the big deal “?

FOOD. FOOD. FOOD

Food is the big deal. Even if you are not the biggest fan of fruits and vegetables nearly everything in your cupboards or fridge has some ingredient that needs bees (or other pollinators like butterflies) to flower and turn into a seed – which is the part most of us eat. One out of every three bites of food is the result of insect pollination.

Just to bring this down from the 30,000 foot level I will give you a short list of things that will disappear without bees, butterflies, flies and other little creatures that pollinate. I hope you are surprised:

Almonds

Apples

Coffee

Cotton

Kiwi

Onions

Strawberries

And many more

Now for the fun part! Here are some things you can do to help out our winged little friends.

Check out the bee status in your area. Click here.

Use natural pesticides in your yard. Here’s just one simple recipe to use in your garden (might even be growing there already) Recipe.

Buy only local honey. As close to home as you can get. This can also help with allergies.

Ask your local nursery if they use ‘bee-approved’ pesticides. If they do, say thank you and look for another location to shop. Consumers have the power to change the supply chain.

Plant a pollinator garden.

Let some of the weeds in your yard grow  –  like dandelions or clover!

Create a shallow butterfly bath. They prefer moist muddy spots so look to see if you have an area you can spare them.

Hang a bee house on an east facing wall.

Hang a butterfly house in a sunny location out of the wind.

Buy as much organic as you can. Here are the dirty dozen to at least start with.

Want to learn more?Get involved with the Xerces Society and read the spring issue of National Wildlife April/May 2016

 

Thanks for reading and comment or contact me for more information.

Cheers,

Lisa

 

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