Many people have a fear of bees.
These buzzing insects with the ability to sting can quickly have people running for the indoors or for a newspaper. However, bees are actually an extremely important part of our ecology. Not only do they produce honey, they also pollinate nearly one third of all the foods we eat: from the obvious flowering choices like almonds and fruits like blueberries, to veggies you wouldn’t expect to be reliant on bees such as carrots. Without bees food prices would skyrocket as scarcity and malnutrition took hold globally. These are very real fears because bees are disappearing.
What is Happening?
For a long time scientists couldn’t understand why bees were simply dying off or abandoning their colonies leaving healthy queens and larvae to die. Colony collapse disorder continues to wreak havoc on the bees with over 10 million beehives abandoned and 2 million dollars in damages. The cause is thought to be a concoction of different fungicides and pesticides. Many of these chemicals were thought to not harm bees, however, research from the university of Maryland suggests that they prevent bees from resisting infection from certain parasites. More recent data supports the pesticides neonicotinoids and fipronil being the problem. When pesticides are sprayed onto plants, they absorb the chemicals and transfer them to all parts of their structure including the pollen. When pollinators like bees and butterflies come in contact with these contaminated plants it can seriously affect them.
What can You Do?
With an issue stretching across continents and the ability to affect everyone, it may feel like a problem too large for everyday people to tackle. Not true! There is actually plenty you can do to help bees just in your garden. The first thing you can do is leave sugar water out for tired bees. Especially when the weather is yo-yoing between very warm and gloomy-rain, bees can have to work overtime. If you find a bee lying on the ground, it probably isn’t dead just resting. Using an egg cup, leave sugar water (2 tablespoons of white sugar per tablespoon of water) out for the bees by bee-friendly plants. Make sure to only use white sugar. Brown sugar is bad for a bees digestion system, and honey can actually contain viruses that may infect bees. Another way you can help is by creating a bee-friendly garden. A bee-friendly garden is one with many different types of plants that flower all season long. Some examples include blueberries and cranberries for early bloomers; raspberry, sunflowers, and lavender for midseason; and pumpkin and squash for late in the growing season. For a complete list you can visit the david suzuki foundation’s article on creating bee-friendly spaces. [http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/food-and-our-planet/create-a-bee-friendly-garden/].
Interested in doing your part to have a more bee-friendly garden and yard? The experts at Five Star can help you come up with a landscaping and gardening plan to suit your needs and the needs of all the pollinators in your neighbourhood.