Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We can save the bees ...They can't save themselves

The bees are dying and we can't live without them
It’s become a serious and worldwide environmental issue now that we are losing the world’s bee population. Documentaries have been spreading awareness about this problem, but we are far from the solution. The documentaries state that 1/3 of what we eat comes from the hard work of bees, so how can we reverse this trend? There are  ways we can help save the bees.
It all starts with bees, they are the key of agriculture and yet we neglect them in the process. Imagine a world with no cherries, carrots, pears, watermelons, nuts, apples, potatoes, oranges, avocados (really?). The list goes on and on !

a world without bees
  1. Unfortunately, some of the causes of this mass extinction are rooted in the way humans practice agriculture. One of the main causes of deaths are the pesticides that we use to fertilize our crops. They are known to kill bee populations, but the industry has no interest in stopping the use of these chemicals. Plus, many of them are also detrimental to our own health !
  2. Some harmful parasites seem to be invading the beehives. The Varroa Destructor is a small mite that reproduces and feeds entirely off the bees and their larvae. Although beekeepers are trying to find organic and safe ways to get rid of the Varroa, once they penetrate the hive, there is usually no hope left for the honeybees.
  3. As humans we are also a great part of the problem. Our rural areas are becoming smaller, fields are disappearing and human activity causes a lot of stress to the bees. They often starve because their food is becoming scarce and of course they are suffering from global warming, specially the cold winters.
Together, all these problems create “colony collapse disorder”, the scientific term for the disappearing of the bee colonies. A terrifying example is China. They have totally lost their bee population and now hire people to pollinate their fruit trees and vegetables by hand ! Crazy isn’t it? If they relied only on the crops that do not require bee pollination, their diet would be reduced to corn, wheat and a few other wind pollinated crops.
We don't want to completely lose our bee population. So we  must plant, plant, plant and keep on planting flowers, herbs and flowering trees that bees are attracted to for  gathering their pollen.

  • Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula, dandelions and wild lilac provide enticing spring blooms.
  • Bees feast on bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta in the summer.
  • For fall, zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod are late bloomers that will tempt foragers.

  • HERBS:
    Borage, catnip, dill, lemon balm, mint, lavender, sage, rosemary, basil, marjoram, and thyme ... Allow them to flower.

    • Blackberry
    • Hedge bindweed
    • Honeysuckle
    • Sweet pea
    • Foxglove
    • Rhododendron

    • hawthorn.
    • red bud.
    • all fruit trees.
    • shadbush.
    • tulip tree.
    • willow.
    • sorrel.
    There are others and they are mostly available at local nurseries. Also, that is a good place, if a botanist is available, to ask about planting a bee garden. Remember, seeds are very cheap and the bees are irreplaceable.

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