For thousands of years, honeybees have transformed flower nectar into that wonderful sweetness called honey. Not only is honey a delicious treat in recipes or to sweeten a cup of tea, it has many medicinal properties as well. Due to its sterile qualities, doctors used it as wound dressings during the civil war.
Honeybees are important in another crucial way – as pollinators of our food supply. The USDA estimates that “about one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee pollination”. Some crops, such as almonds, rely completely upon honeybees for propagation.
So what, you might ask? Honeybee populations are dwindling worldwide from a combination of factors that contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder. This happens when worker bees leave behind a colony with only a queen and a few immature bees, resulting in death of the colony. Currently the main factors are thought to be: viruses, parasites, management stressors, migratory stress and pesticides. To view a film on CCD: http://www.vanishingbees.com
HOW CAN WE HELP?
- Buy organic to help reduce pesticide use. Refrain from use of pesticides in your own yard and garden.
- Plant pollinator-friendly plants such as bee balm and red clover.
- Buy local and single producer honey to support small scale bee keepers in your own community.
- Enjoy the wonderful taste of local honey in your own recipes.
- Give bees a place to stay. You can find “bee hive kits” like the one pictured below in any garden center. Mason bees will use the cavities to lay their eggs and emerging bees will visit your garden.
BEE KIND TO BEES…Our Food Supply Depends on it!