There are probably many things you should be doing more with your family. Spending time together is one, and many families should probably be more involved in each other’s lives. But one unusual thing most families should be doing is supporting the bees.
In the past decade or so, the worldwide bee population has rapidly declined. Countries across the globe have seen a 25%-45% decrease in honeybee populations. Believe it or not, this will have a big, negative impact on your family. Read on to learn exactly how — and what your family can do to help bees and themselves.
What Bees Do For Your Family
Even if no one in your family likes honey, bees are responsible for a lot of food on your dinner table. That’s because bees are probably the best pollinators around.
In order for plants to create seeds, they need to be pollinated. Although the wind and a few other animals do this, bees are major pollinators. In fact, One Green Planet reports that more than 90% of our food crops depend on bees to reproduce through pollination. These include:
Bees even help with crops indirectly related to your family’s food supply. For example, bees help alfalfa grow, and that plant is often used to feed cows. Bees even help with crops like cotton and flax used for clothing and fabrics.
If the bee population continues to decline, your family will either pay more for these products or not have any at all to buy.
Protecting Bees Can Be Simple
With all that bees do for your family, how can you help protect them? The Guardian has an excellent list of ways your family can help, such as:
- Contact local authorities if you spot a bee colony or swarm in your neighborhood. Then the bees can be safely removed and relocated.
- Buy more honey. It’s a great natural sweetener, and by buying it, you make it financially attractive for others to build more bee hives. You also want local honey, since foreign-made honey can have bacteria toxic to local bees.
- Teach your family how to react to bees. Leave them alone and calmly walk away. Bees are not aggressive, so by leaving them alone, you don’t have to kill any.
One of the major causes of this sudden bee decline is the overuse of pesticides and herbicides. Both are toxic to bees and can easily sicken or kill them in large numbers. Don’t use either around your yard and speak to your local politicians about avoiding pesticides.
Pollen-Rich Gardens For Any Space
But there’s one way for your family to help bees that’s both simple and fun: Creating a bee garden. This is a garden full of the flowering plants that bees depend on for food. By providing a safe haven for bees in your yard, you can help them stay healthy and reproduce.
Bees are very good at seeing color, even more so than humans. That’s why you should create a garden with blocks of color. Pick flowers of different colors, the bolder the better. Plant them in bunches, and mix up annuals (plants that come back every year) with perennials (ones that die completely during winter).
The Honeybee Conservatory also recommends using plenty of native plants. These will grow faster and better in your garden, and local bees have likely adapted to find those plants easier.
Start Supporting Bees Together
If your family needs to spend more time together, supporting bees is an activity that can actually help your family. Work together to build a bee-friendly garden and teach your family why pesticides are a bad idea. Not only can this help bees recover before it becomes a serious problem for the food supply, it can be fun too.
References and Resources
- 25%-45% decrease - http://sos-bees.org/situation/
- Major pollinators. - http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/how-bees-benefit-other-li...
- Help alfalfa grow - http://naturalsociety.com/list-of-foods-we-will-lose-if-we-dont-save-the...
- Your family - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/may/13/wildlife.endangereds...
- Pesticides and herbicides - http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-ways-to-help-honey-bees.html
- Creating - https://www.redfin.com/blog/2016/04/10-helpful-tips-for-beginning-garden...
- Blocks of color - https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/32351570/list/how-to-design-a-garden-for...
- Native plants - http://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/plant-a-bee-garden/