Despite the large amounts of money spent every year on endangered species, it seems as though most of it is going to furry, cuddly types. One species, seems to fly under the radar and its current threatened state could mean catastrophe for the farming industry, as well as the growth of every, and any kind, of plant-covered habitat. Not very cuddly and often feared, bees are one of the most important species to our planet’s well-being, but every year their populations dwindle.
According to The Observer, a third of bee colonies in America have failed to survive winter for the past three in a row. Speculations about the bee population decline are rooted anywhere from pesticides and climate change to habitat fragmentation and cell phone waves. Pesticides seem to be one of the leading speculated causes with American scientists finding 121 different pesticides in samples of bees, wax and pollen.
Whichever one it is, these are all very human induced. The article explains that the collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops estimating a third of everything we eat depending upon honeybee pollination, with bees contributing over 15 billion dollars to the agriculture industry every year. The bee decline can be view as a catastrophe in the making when coupled with the current climate change induced pollination problems.
Changing weather patterns have caused plants to flower either too early or too late for the bees to pollinate. With 90 commercial crops worldwide dependent on honey bee pollination (apples, onions, and coffee for example) we could be threatening a third of our food, not too mention increasing our carbon footprint by reducing the number of carbon consuming plant life.
So what can we do about this growing problem? TheDailyGreen.com gave us some simple ways we can try and keep our bees thriving before it’s too late.
- STOP using pesticides and fertilizers in your garden and on your lawns.
- Cultivate Bee-Friendly Plants – studies show bees love yellow, purple and blue flowers
- Let There Be Weeds Many common weeds, such as dandelions and clover, are popular with bees
- Avoid Over Mulching Many native bees tunnel and live in the soil. Mulch your lawn tastefully without completely shutting out bees.
- Help Your Town Protect Bee Habitat Like I said, habitat fragmentation is a huge problem for bee populations. Support local bee habitat to help them repopulate.
Basically, keep it natural and let’s all stop striving for that picture perfect lawn and garden, after all, it is only a picture conceived by an ill-informed, idealistic artists, and not a naturalist. Follow these easy steps help bees and lower your carbon footprint!
Green Blizzard recommends these great reads about this bee related issue. Particularly the one on the far right, about the politics of food (bees play an important part) in this book – it provides some great insights into the bigger picture about global food production.