With Bee Populations on the Decline, What Can You Do to Help?
Bees all over the world are finding themselves in a dire situation – with fewer friends and places to call home, populations across the globe have been on the decline. In 2010, a condition known as colony collapse disorder reduced the bee populations in the United States and United Kingdom by almost one-third of their previous size. While there are a number of reasons why bee populations are declining – pesticides, parasites, and loss of habitats – there are some things you can do to help.
How Honey Bees Help Us
Believe it or not, honey bees perform tasks that have an effect on almost one-third of the United States food supply. These chains include the production of almonds, pumpkins, and watermelons, among others. Without a large population of bees, crops in many different industries will never become pollenated or grow – they will simply disappear and no longer be part of the human food chain. With so much of our agriculture on the line, it is important to do what we can to increase the bee population.
How We Can Help Honey Bees
While you may believe that only scientists and other professionals have the resources to help the honey bee population, there are a number of things that the average person can do to help as well. For one, planting an outdoor garden as a means of sustenance for the bee population is a great start. Honey bees enjoy mint, zucchini, sage, rosemary, blueberry, sunflowers, and tomato plants, among many others. Having shrubs that bloom with flowers can also be a source of food for a local honey bee colony.
When planting an outdoor garden in the hopes of helping the honey bee population, make sure to use plants, vegetables, and fruits that bloom throughout the time that the bees are most active. Try to plan the garden so plants are blooming continuously from early spring to early fall – this will help to provide a food source for the growing colony during the months of the year when they are out and working.
Using Pesticides and Fertilizer
Many outdoor gardens require pesticides and/or fertilizer in order for them to grow correctly. If either of these substances is needed, make sure to choose ones that are free of chemical additives. There are a number of natural pesticides on the market that will not harm the bee population. Additionally, make sure that any fertilizer being used is chemical free.