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Bee Friends

By Dawna Matthews

It’s difficult to imagine my garden without flitting butterflies and the soft hum of bees. I love to watch them dance amongst the flowers and vegetables, and journey onward then return throughout the day. But bees are disappearing at an alarming rate. Over the last three years, more than 1 in 3 honeybee colonies have died nationwide. This crisis is known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Why should we worry about these little insects? Because our food source, our very health and our society depend on these sweet little guys.

honey-beesBees pollinate 80% of the world’s plants — including 90 different food crops. One out of every 3 or 4 bites of food you eat is thanks to bees. In the United States, the honey bee is responsible for $15 billion in U.S. agricultural crops per year. The recent and rapid decline of bees is due to global warming, overdevelopment of land, pollution, genetically modified crops and other factors. Although we don’t understand all of the underlying factors contributing to the decline of bees, experts agree that we must do something to help the honeybee or our already limited food supply, as well as the earth’s population, is at risk.

What can we do to help?

Plant a Garden – Bees are attracted to fruits, vegetables and pretty flowers. All of these provide essential nutrition for bees as well as add delicious food and decoration to your home and community. Plant a variety of flowers and plants with different colors, shapes and bloom times in any spare piece of land you may have (or even in a pot on your balcony) to create a natural habitat so they get a varied diet. Be sure to skip the pesticides. Encourage your friends and communities and schools to do the same. It’s so easy and helps so much!

Plants loved by honeybees include the following:

  • WildflowersJar & Bee
  • Borage, sage, mint, thyme, lavender, most herbs
  • Daisies, honeysuckle, sunflowers, blackberries, raspberries
  • Pears, peaches, apricots, apples
  • Maples, willows, poplars

Buy Local Honey – Not all honey is the same. Support your local hive and taste something unique to your area. The flavor of honey depends on the flower the bees visit and gives it uniqueness. To find local honey, visit your neighborhood farmers market or  http://www.honeylocator.com/.

Buy Organic – We say so much with the way we spend our money. By buying organic as much possible, you are supporting farm practices that promote healthy ecosystems and avoid toxic and persistent pesticides. As well, you are eating foods with fewer pesticides and insecticides which are harmful to our bodies, our earth, and animals and insects. Pesticides are also devastating to the bee population, so when we buy organic we save ourselves, the bees and the planet.

Become a Beekeeper– The backyard and urban beekeeping movement is growing. Look for local communities online or check out The Practical Beekeeper for more information.

Throughout human history, bees have been revered for their productivity, precision and communal intelligence. In Greek mythology, bees were associated with divination, not to mention the delicious food of the gods — honey, beeswax, bee pollen, propolis, and royal jelly. The honey bee is the only insect that produces food eaten by man. By restoring balance to the diet and habitat of the bees, we can improve their well-being as well as prevent the complete collapse of bee colonies — and maybe even save ourselves.

For more information, buzz by these informative websites:

http://www.vanishingbees.com/

http://www.feedthebees.org/

http://www.xerces.org/

About Dawna Matthews

Dawna is a yoga teacher, writer, domestic goddess, and lover of life. She tries to celebrate all the joys given to us in this world by dancing, singing, cooking, and gazing up at the sky. Dawna believes green living is a way of coming back to the self- a simple yet deeply satisfying dance of gratitude to mother earth and each one of us. She lives in Colorado where the mountains are a perfect backdrop to each day. She twirls daily.

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2 comments

  1. Lovely post! I totally agree with you sometimes it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of the things that go into keeping our environment clean. But your tips are spot on, and a lot of those things bring us joy anyways! Its a win win in my book:)

    • Hi Sarah! Thank you for your kind words and reflection. I agree many of these things are activities that bring us joy and take us back to our true selves. The bees are a mirror for our sweetness.

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