For the past decade, bee populations across North America have been sending up alarms. Some bee species are at or near the brink of extinction. There’s a close link between the continued population decline and the use of industrial pesticides on crops and in gardens, as well as sustained loss of habitat for many bee populations across the U.S. and elsewhere.
Bees are an integral part of the pollination cycle for many plants and crops throughout the world, and the crash in their population, though tragic in and of itself, could be linked to subsequent crashes in the populations of many flowers and plants in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The repercussions of a world without bees are not immediately clear, but it’s unlikely anything good would come from such an event. With up to 9 percent of bee species facing extinction in the coming years, many wonder if there’s any way to avert this slow-motion tragedy.
There are a few simple ways people can do their part to swing humanity away from causing a total collapse of the bee population. Here are a few ideas.
- Go Pesticide-Free
Pesticides are one of the greatest culprits in the decline of bee populations. Gardeners can start doing their part by avoiding the use of these toxic chemicals. There are plenty of alternatives for gardeners who are afraid bugs will destroy their precious plants.
One of the most effective methods, and the one least dangerous to bees, is the use of organic pest control. From fungi to pheromones, using organic pest control can scare away the harmful insects, and keep honeybees coming back for more.
- Cultivate Beneficial Plants
Certain plants are high in nectar and pollen content, making them great for bees — and the surrounding environment as well. With more nectar, the bees have an excellent source of food for their colonies, and the extra pollen helps cross-pollination of different species of plants, diversifying and strengthening the ecosystem in the process.
- Create a Bee Basin
Like most species of animals, bees get thirsty on long journeys and need to drink. Putting out a shallow basin of water — with small pieces of wood or stone above the waterline to prevent drowning — helps keep those local bees watered and going strong! In no time, that balcony or porch will become a popular destination for bees.
- Support Beekeepers
Local beekeepers have a tough job, and anyone willing to allow angry insects to sting them thousands of times is undeniably devoted to their trade. Supporting a local beekeeper financially, or even with a helping hand or by spreading the word, can go a long way. Also, taking a tour of the hives can familiarize people with the inner workings of an apiary, which is an unforgettable experience.
- Create a Bee Garden
Habitat loss is one of the top hurdles facing bees today, as the spread of humanity has robbed many bees of their homes. Planting a small neighborhood “bee garden” provides the friendly insects with a green area and many bee-friendly plants to feed them, which they will, in turn, help pollinate.
Many communities lack the green foliage necessary to bees’ survival, making these areas wastelands for bee populations. Planting a garden can help reclaim an area for the local bees.
With humans’ help, bees can make a miraculous rebound and return to the levels once found throughout the modern world. However grim the future looks for these industrious insects, with some local effort, it is possible to avert colony collapse and get bee populations back on track.