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May 13, 2014

How to Help Honey Bees & Reduce Colony Collapse Disorder

Topics:
Bees
 

Helping the environment is a lofty goal and luckily also an attainable one! Helping to clean up roadsides, take care of our watersheds, reduce pollution, and save the distressed creatures of this planet are all ways to get involved and make a difference. One particular way to help the environment is to educate yourself about the declining population of honey bees, and lend a hand to promoting their survival.

By now almost everyone has heard that the world’s honey bees are in jeopardy. Since 2006, whole honey bee hives have been disappearing at an alarming rate. This decline in the bee population is a major issue to global agriculture and the world’s food supply. Bees are responsible for the pollination of over $30 billion a year in crops.

 

Bee Hive

Photo by Daniel Blume.

 

The phenomenon known as CCD–colony collapse disorder–is the culprit, and the exact reasons behind its increasing prevalence are still unclear. CCD is the sudden loss of worker bees–they just disappear. No excessive bodies are found around the abandoned hives, but the queen, the young bees, the honey, and the pollen are left behind. Without the worker bees the hive cannot survive.

Some possible reasons for this issue are the varroa mite, new diseases, pesticide poisoning, bee stress, foraging habitat modification, and inadequate foraging/poor nutrition. One fact is for sure: the honey bee population needs human help. Some possible ways to get involved include…

Create a bee habitat. Have flowers and plants in bloom as long as possible. You can do this by choosing early blooming and late blooming plants/flowers for your gardens. Some types of bees forage in the early spring and some late in the season, so having a good mix that will provide pollen for as long as possible is ideal.

 

Honey Bee Dances Among Bee Balm

Photo by Ano Lobb.

 

Choose primitive plants. Herbs and heather are wonderful for bees, as are the more traditional cottage variety flowers. Hybrids tend to produce less nectar and pollen.

Make a meadow. Creating a small meadow of wildflowers adds a stunning bee’s paradise to your garden. This would also be a great project for a community.

Reduce the use of pesticides. Try to use natural methods whenever possible, not only for the benefit of the bees, but for the whole environment, including human beings.

Support organic and sustainable farmers. Often, local farmers do not use harmful pesticides or GMO seeds. Whenever you can, support these farmers by visiting local markets and purchasing their produce. Not only will this help the bees, but your body as well!

Spread the word. Talk to your neighbors, community groups, school organizations, etc. Start a call to action on our website to build a wildflower meadow or other environmental friendly habitat in your area. Nothing will be accomplished if no one knows there is a problem!

Posted by Mark Contorno

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