Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you go through to make a purchase, I earn a commission.
Why are bees important?
Bees (along with other pollinators) are important because they help make our food. More than 80% of flowering plants across the globe require a pollinator in order to reproduce.
This means that if we lost pollinators entirely, our diets would suffer immensely. We would also lose most of our pretty and colorful flowers!
Although bees are not the only pollinators, not trying to save them would be a mistake. If bees were to go, it would only be a matter of time before other pollinators would be threatened also. They are said to provide about one third of our food supply.
Why are bees in danger?
Insects are dying in record numbers, and that is unsettling as they are a vital part of our ecosystem. Even more alarming, we could lose every insect species within a single century at the current rate of climate change.
Losing insects would disrupt the entire food chain, causing animals that depend entirely on insects as food, to eventually die.
From there the food chain would have gaps, all the way up and affecting our diets as well. We’re specifically talking about bees, but it is important to note that insects in general are in trouble. Bees are declining due to multiple causes however, let’s go through a few reasons showing why they are dwindling.
Many pollinators are losing their habitats. Human development is the biggest cause, as our species tends to build houses, roads, giant malls, and more.
Also, another side affect of human development is sectioning off larger sections of land into smaller plots. Our roads and buildings leave behind patches of habitat, which has a negative impact on animals and insects who lived there.
Our climate is definitely changing. As our seasons are beginning to slightly shift, pollinators are suffering the consequences. As a result of shifting seasons, flowering times are changing.
This causes bees to sometimes not have enough food. In addition to shifting seasons, droughts and heavy rain are becoming more common, which are also challenging for our insect friends.
The agriculture industry sprays a ton of pesticides to keep our food bug free. Unfortunately this also adversely affects bees and other pollinators. A bee will either die of direct contact, or they can return to the hive and contaminate others causing even more losses.
Pesticides are a cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, explained in the next point.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
Colony Collapse Disorder is essentially when a colony suffers a massive loss of worker bees, but there are few dead bees near the colony. Strangely, the queen would still be present with her little ones, and the honey and pollen reserves are filled.
Even though there are many resources, the colony dies out due to insufficient worker bees. There are a multitude of reasons this can happen such as disease or parasites, habitat changes, or poor nutrition.
What can we do to save the bees?
Unfortunately, some factors contributing to the decline of bees and pollinators are out of our hands. Climate change isn’t going to slow down anytime soon sadly, as we are running out of time to make eco friendly changes.
Another problem is that the agriculture industry uses so many pesticides, and it could take a long time to change that. However, we are able to make some small changes in our own daily lives to help the bees.
Don’t kill or exterminate bees, have them ethically removed
This should probably go without saying. When you find a bee hive at your house, usually our first thought is to call an exterminator. You should look for local bee removal services that keep the hive and colony intact.
One of the perks is that hive extraction is pretty cool to watch. This resource may help you find bee removal experts in your local area, just make sure that they specifically state they do NOT kill the bees, and rather relocate or transfer to an apiary.
Stop spraying pesticides, or at the very least do it in the evening
There are some ways to get rid of pests without the use of pesticides. One way is to introduce companion plants, that will ward off pests you don’t want, but will keep the pollinators. A great option is Lavender, not only do bees love it, it smells good and keeps away some common pests! Recently, there have also been some bee-safe pesticides appearing.
If you pick up one of those, your conscious can be at least somewhat clear, and think of it as voting with your dollars. Buying bee-safe products will cause companies to cater to the new bee-safe mindset, which will further the cause. That being said, pesticides in general should be avoided when possible.
Plant more flowers
Bees are suffering from malnutrition due to habitat loss, so increasing the amount of food is a way to help them out. Besides, flowers are pretty and we could always use some more.
Some of the popular flowers for bees include: lavender, honeysuckle, lilacs, and sunflowers. If you want to find some other options, this article has some great options.
Keep a hive yourself
This is more on the extreme side, but you can live out your beekeeper fantasy. Starter kits are available so it isn’t that hard to get the necessary gear.
This website is a great resource to get your hive started!
Plant more trees, save the bees
When trees blossom, it creates a lot of food for bees. Trees also serve as habitats where bees and other pollinators can live. Planting more trees also have other environmental benefits that aren’t bee related, so it’s a win-win.
Find and support your local beekeeper organizations
Odds are, you have a beekeeping organization near you. Local organizations and apiaries sometimes have memberships with some perks. If you want a more hands on approach, you can likely learn how to keep bees from others within your community.
Bees and other pollinators are vital to our food production. Without them, we would lose many fruit and vegetables, as well as flowers and other plants. As the number of bees continues to decline, we have to try to conserve them. I personally don’t want to see a world without our current food and flower diversity.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, or contact us!