December 31, 2012
From: National Geographic
Posted by Drew Hendricks
Getting stung by a bee can hurt, but losing bees forever can hurt even more. It may be hard to see why bees are so important to us, but did you know that 1 of every 3 bites of food we take comes from a pollinated plant or an animal that depends on bee pollination? And yet, since the mid-2000s, bees have been mysteriously vanishing.
A world without bees would be a different place. A lot of crops currently depend on them, including fruits like almonds and cherries, vegetables like onions and pumpkins, and field crops like soybeans and sunflowers. A loss of bees could mean economic hardships for farms and the food industry and would lead to a rise in food costs.
In 2006, beekeepers started reporting that seemingly healthy bees were simply abandoning their hives in mass numbers, never to return. Researchers call the mass disappearance colony collapse disorder (CCD). Since then, around one third of honey bee colonies in the U.S. have vanished.
You can take action today and help make our world a healthier place for bees. Here are things you can do to save our bees:
Plant a bee-friendly garden: Flowers – especially ones native to your area – help feed bees and other valuable pollinators. Native plants also often require less water and fertilizer than non-native plants. You will be doing a huge favor to native species of bees, who have adapted over thousands of years to feed off these plants.
Start a hive: You can directly impact the health of your local ecosystem by starting a honeybee hive. Plus, you can get the added benefits of bee products such as honey and beeswax, as well as the satisfaction and joy of working with a hive.
Sponsor a hive: If you can’t start your own hive or would like to help increase the number of hives, why not help fund new hive installations? A donation to an organization committed to bee preservation goes a long way.
Support your local beekeeper: Support local beekeepers who nurture their bees by purchasing their honey at local farmer’s markets.
Spread the word: Spread the story of the bees to your friends and family. Let them know how important bees are for our planet and existence. Together, we can make a difference.