Every morning I grab my first cup of coffee and head out to the back yard, this is where our gardens and pond are located. I love checking up on the morning news here, it’s so peaceful and relaxing. While sitting enjoying my coffee, I noticed the tomato plants were alive with the buzzing of bumble bees. I sat contemplating why are bees important? How come I don’t usually see this many in the garden all at once? Is it because they are slowly going extinct, and if so how can I save them?
Putting Food On Your Table
As any gardener knows, pollination of crops is vital to produce a healthy abundant crop of food, did you know that bees pollinate 70 of the top 100 human food crops? Which means that 1 in every 3 bites of food we ingest comes from a plant that has been pollinated by bees.
I love fresh cucumbers from my garden, I look forward to them each and every single year, cucumbers are dependent on bees pollination in order to produce crops. As do many other fruits, vegetables, and even nuts! Almonds are totally dependent on bee pollination alone, could you imagine a world without chocolate covered almonds?! That’s the stuff of nightmares people!
Let’s not forget about honey, the yellow golden, sweet sticky nectar of the Gods! If we did not have bees, we would not have honey.
80% of the flowering plants on earth are pollinated by bees, as a bee collects its nectar from a plant
Pollination occurs when a bee lands on a flower, their tiny feet often slip into a groove that holds pollen sacs, these pollen sacs get stuck on the bees feet and get carried away when the bee flies off. Once the bee lands on another flower looking for nectar the stowaway pollen sack falls off the bees feet, the pollen falls out of the sack and the pollination process is under way.
A single bee colony can pollinate 300 Million flowers a day! That is pretty impressive if you ask me, they truly are hard workers.
Why Are The Bees Dying?
There are many reasons for the death of our beloved bees, I will cover a few of the reasons here, but please do your research to find out more information.
Parasites – The Varroa Mite weakens a bee by feeding off of the bees blood, reproduction of the varroa mite requires a female to invade the cell of bee larva and lay its eggs. Once the mites hatch they emerge with the new bees to continue the cycle over and over. Eventually, the mits take over the hive killing off the colony.
Viruses – More than 20 Honey Bee viruses have been identified, these viruses impact the bees in multiple ways. Killing the developing larvae and pupils, decreasing the life span of bees, reducing cognitive skills, and impairing wing development so that the bees cannot fly.
Pesticides – Some insecticides have warnings and bee hazards on their label because they are toxic to honey bees. These pesticides cause honey bee deaths, if the insecticide has a sub-lethal effect on bees and may result in reduce larva survival, or shortened lifespan of adults bees, the extent of the sub-leath effects are still widely unknown.
Nutrition – Bees require a diverse source of flowering plants to survive from, floral diversity has been on the decline. Especially in urban areas where there is more concrete than there are flora and natural landscaping.
How Can You And I Help The Bees?
Dandy Lions – Many consider these plants to be a weed, in fact, they are the first foods of the season for bees. Leaving these in your yard will provide much-needed nourishment for the bees. I usually let them go to seed before cutting the grass, no I do not have the most luscious lawn, but at least I know I’ll have a luscious garden crop!
Quit using chemicals – there are plenty of all natural ways to remove weeds, pests, and to deter small animals from your landscape.
Build Bee Houses – Building bee houses for the many species of bees that inhabit your yard helps provide them with a safe environment to thrive in. Or purchase one here
Plant wild flowers – Either in planters or around your landscape, wild flowers provide food for bees and other nectar loving insects such as the monarch butterfly.
Provide a source of water- Bird baths are an excellent source for all sorts of creatures to quench their thirst with H20.
Education Is Essential
Educating your self, family, and friends is the most important aspect in helping the bees. Do your research, read as many articles as you can.
Learn about the many species of bees, find out which ones are beneficial and which type of stinging insect is harmful such as wasps.
As a child and young adult, I was terrified of bees! I feared that if one was nearby I was going to get stung, and no one wants to get stung. It was not uncommon to see me running for my life down the street screaming ” BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE” Unfortunately that fear rubbed off on my children, I have been making it my mission to educate them and show them that bees, in fact, are beautiful and necessary parts of life.
I found this book that I thought was so cute and helpful, it has 19 different activities that you can do as a family, each activity focuses on educating kids about bees. The coolest part of this book is you can turn it into a beehive!!!! Don’t worry you’ll be using the cover of the book provided to you so that you do not need to ruin a book for the project.
What are you waiting for?
Get out there and save those bees!!!
We would love to hear from you, what is your family doing to help save the bees? Leave us a comment below!