It’s tiny, fuzzy, has black and yellow stripes, and lives in a colony that flies hundreds of miles and visits thousands of flowers all to produce the liquid gold that you put in your tea: Honey. One of the most overlooked yet most powerful influences of our ecosystem, as well as a great indicator that the environment is in check, is none other than the humble honey bee. This tiny creature that buzzes around our gardens during the summer and collects pollen and nectar from flowers is doing its natural job of pollination. Without this crucial process, all of our fruits, vegetables and flowers would not exist. Shocking, but true! Yet honey bees are increasingly endangered due to several horrifying factors such as: illness and infections caused by pesticides and insecticides being sprayed onto our crops and flowers, mites, pests, bacterial infections, virus infections, as well as a disorder called Colony Collapse Disorder where the entire hive of honey bees disappear entirely without a trace.
Both national and international reports have raised awareness of the decline in honeybee populations, leading many people to recognize just how important honeybees are and lead them to wonder how they can help save them. Although scientists have not yet pinpointed a single cause of Colony Collapse Disorder, researchers around the world continue their efforts in a daring attempt to save one of Earth’s most precious creatures. In the meantime, beekeeper groups, universities, and businesses are offering advice on how you can join the effort to save honeybees.
How can we help them? Can we go green while doing so?
Yes and yes! There are several things you can do to aid in the preservation of these furry little guys.
• Support your local beekeepers! By the local honey that they provide from their bees as well as beeswax candles, both of which are healthier alternatives to store-bought. A lot of the honey you see on shelves at the grocery store are diluted with corn syrup and sugar as opposed to real honey that the bees make themselves. Real honey has a high nutritional value and is praised for its antibacterial healing properties. Honey is food for the bees too, but they produce so much that they don’t know what to do with, thus beekeepers take the extra honey and naturally harvest it and sell it to locals, it is one of nature’s gifts to be shared. Beeswax candles on the other hand are incredibly different from regular candles that are made of paraffin, because they don’t produce negative ions and pollute the air. Instead, regular beeswax candles burn clean with smokeless flames and actually banishes the surrounding air of irritants such as dust, hair, odors, etc. They also have a natural sweet fragrance and burn much slowly, giving off a warm golden glow.
• Another tip is to plant as many flowers as you can, creating diversity for the bees, and whatever you do, do NOT use pesticides. You can get rid of weeds organically. How can you do this? It’s all about how you lay the foundation. According to About.com, they suggest that when you choose a plot of land to start a garden, lay a landscape fabric, and then on top of that lay down your garden mulch. This combo reduces the amount of weeds you get, and if you get a few, they will be much easier to pull from the ground. With less of a weed hassle, you can create a lively and rich garden that honey bees can replenish themselves with and come back to each and every time. Making a very happy bee.
• Visit the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees to find out more ways to help!
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