June 26th, 2009 by Joe Mohr
Colony Collapse Disorder is still with us
…though not getting the same press it did the last couple of years. According to a joint survey conducted by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the Agricultural Research Service’s Bee Research Laboratory, 29 percent of honey bee colonies vanished between September 2008 and April 2009. That number is better than previous years…but not much.
I think it’s time to give back to the insect that has given us so much over our lifetimes (they pollinate 1/3 of our food supply). Here are 5 things you can do to help the bees:
1. Provide bees with a safe beneficial place to thrive.
Leave a patch of wildflowers and plants for bees to enjoy.
Leave the dandelions in the ground. Dandelions are probably the most beneficial flower for bees in the early spring. Check out this info from the Daily Green for a list of other plants bees love.
Make a bee post for bees to reside. Drill a variety of holes up to a half inch in diameter into the side of a thick piece of untreated timber. Attach a roof to deflect rain, smooth down the entrances to the holes thoroughly so there are no sharp splinters, and attach it to a sunny wall or fence. Keep the post in a dry, cool place in winter and bring it out in March. (Another bee house idea is shared here).
FYI, don’t build bee homes with new fence posts from home and garden centers. They are unsuitable because they have been treated with chemicals. Speaking of chemicals…
2. Avoid insecticides and other harmful chemicals!
Don’t spray your yard (plants, trees, grass, etc.) with harmful chemicals. Only 3% of insects are actually considered pests. Why then, do we choose to douse the other 97% with deadly chemicals? If you refrain from using chemicals and create a safe, naturally biodiverse habitat your pests will be kept in check by beneficial bugs as well as birds. BioBees.com shares:
Removing all unnecessary pesticides from the environment is probably the single most important thing we can do to help save the bees.
3. Support local beekeepers.
Local beekeepers help the bee population to thrive. It is also widely believed that local honey reduces the symptoms of hay fever and similar allergies.
4. Become a local beekeeper.
PlanetGreen shares some tips for beginning beekeepers. Otherwise, you can follow the successes my sister-in-law and I have enjoyed in our first two years of beekeeping here…just don’t get stung on the lip:)
5. Share your knowledge and love for bees.
Love and passion are contagious. Bees are fascinating and vitally important creatures. They’re much more worthy of a conversation than the struggling economy, my struggling Cubs, any TV show, your aunt’s mustache…
- Cure For Honey Bee Colony Collapse?
- UK Professor Hopes Modified Bee Genes Can Prevent Colony Collapse Disorder
- Bee Learning Behavior Affected by Eating Toxin from GE Corn
image credit: Wikimedia Commons under the GNU Free Documentation License
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