The drone of bees remind me of lazy, sunny, summer afternoons spent reading or just relaxing with friends. When I was a kid, we had family friends that had bee hives and I remember these tiny insects whipping tirelessly back and forth from hive to flower. Even people that don’t care for insects have a special liking for bees, which in American culture are probably viewed as the most beneficial of all insects.
What we know as honey bees are a bee species from Europe. In the past few years, their sudden decline has been well reported, and now known as Colony Collapse Disorder. This decline is largely due to pesticide use, and not just one pesticide, but a cocktail of pesticides used in modern agriculture. But in a new report out by the Center for Biological Diversity, many native species are now in great danger. Native species are usually ground dwelling, so they are not the bees we think of living in hives and making honey. They are however responsible for pollinating most of wild plant species. 35% of global food crops are pollinated by bees, and a significant number being pollinated by native species. So you can see our very lives would be greatly affected if bees did not support our food supply the way they do today. The report states 50% are declining while 24% are in serious peril and in danger of extinction. The reasons are pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change.
What can you do to help? Educating yourself is the first step, but it’s also important to feel as if you can take action too.
- Buy organic produce when possible. By buying organic you can reduce the use of pesticides. I don’t always buy organic, and I know it can be expensive. Even better shop at a local farmers market, so you’re support local farmers too!
- If you have a garden, never use pesticides. Research natural ways to eliminate unwanted pests.
- Buy honey from local bee keepers. Being a bee keeper can be tough financially, so supporting your neighbors with their hobby can be a great way to help your community. You can also find local beekeepers here. I found a local bee keeper at my city’s farmers market, and I’m also fortunate that one of the stores in my neighborhood carries local honey.
- Call your government representatives, to let them know you support passing laws to reduce pesticide use. You can call your federal government representatives, but each state in the U.S. has an Environment Protection agency. It may be more effective to start at the local level by calling your local state representatives.
- If you have a back yard or even a balcony, plant flowers bees love. Or even start your own hive!
- Donate to the Pollinator Partnership, who works to work to support pollinators, insects and birds, globally.
10% of the revenue from all my products, including the Bee Necklace, go to the NRDC, which in February sued the Trump administration for suspending the rule to put the Rusty Patched bumble bee on the endangered species list. The Rusty Patched bumble bee has lost 90% of it’s range in the last 20 years.