As April flowers begin to pop up all around our yards and gardens, you may also begin to hear the blissful, melodious buzz of the honeybees. . . bzzzz! It’s truly the sound of spring, and it makes us happy!
The latest buzz that’s going around about bees, however, is causing us all great concern.
Honeybees are the most economically and agriculturally important pollinators in the whole world, yet their population has been declining severely since the 1990s. In fact, in just the U.S. alone, commercial beekeepers have been reporting up to a 36% decrease in their managed bee populations year after year. Scientists finally attributed this steady depletion in bee population to a phenomenon they named Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in 2006. The culprits behind this dilemma? Studies have shown that this growing rate of bee deaths is mainly due to pesticide poisoning, pathogens and diseases, environmental stress, and habitat loss.
So, why save the bees?
Because, believe it or not, out of the 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food supply (that’s a lot of food!) over 70 of these crops are pollinated by bees. In other words, 1/3 of the food that we see on our plates each meal is from a bee-pollinated plant. Bees are absolutely essential to our agricultural system and to the cultivation and production of numerous fruits, vegetables, and field crops.
How you can help save the bees - While there are several organizations that are working hard to combat CCD and improve pollinators’ protection from pesticides (such as the EPA and the USDA CCD Steering Committee), we can all help in our own ways to save our honeybees.
- Plant lots of flowers and herbs to attract honeybee colonies. We love lavender and geraniums, but you can find the full list here.
- Let your dandelions feed the bees! It is very important to NOT remove your dandelions until AFTER they have bloomed and their flowers have gone. Dandelion flowers are honeybees’ main source of protein and are necessary for their survival, so please leave them for the bees! To learn more, check out this excellent letter from Boulder resident Gabriele Sattler entitled, “Don’t poison our pollinators“ that we saw in this week’s Boulder Daily Camera.
- Say NO to pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides. Choose organic lawn care and protect not only your kids and pets from exposure to toxic chemicals, but also protect the bees from pesticide poisoning as well! Eliminating chemical treatments from your lawn, trees, and plants eliminates the possibility for many serious and/or fatal health problems and illnesses to attack the species of our ecosystem.
- If you ever find a honeybee habitat on your property, please give us, ecoLogical Lawn and Tree Care, a call right away at 303-444-3456. Leslie Ratica, a local Boulder beekeeper, specializes in sustainable honeybee colony maintenance and will gladly come to your property to extract and re-home any swarms and/or hives upon request.