I can’t remember when I first heard about colony collapse disorder but it was a few years ago. One of my hairdressing clients is a beekeeper and told me about her bees dying. The plight of bees, beekeepers and farmers has become more dire in recent years. In parts of China where the bees have disappeared altogether they are actually hand pollinating crops using a ladder to reach the blossoms and a paint brush or feather to move the pollen, read a great article here.
Here’s a snippet from an article in the Bee Guardian “Noting that humans seem to believe that they can operate independent of nature through technological innovations, Achim Steiner, the executive director of the UNEP said, “Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to 7 billion people.” Read the rest of the article here.
Pesticides, infections, parasites, disappearing habitat, malnutrition and cell phone towers all seem to play a hand in the death of bees and other beneficial insects. We can all argue about it but until we change how we farm and live in our own little pieces of heaven the bees will continue to disappear and without pollinators I don’t see how you feed 7 billion people.
There are things you can do make your yard a hospitable place for native bees.
- Avoid Pesticides – they are harmful to bees
- Avoid Herbicides – let those flowering weeds grow, they provide food for bees
- Provide water and mud – many species of bee use mud to build nests
- Avoid mowing – it kills bees
- Try clover instead of grass – bees love it
- Leave undisturbed areas in your yard – bees need them for nesting
- Plant more flowers – more flowers – more nectar
- Use bright colors – they are attractive to bees
- Allow native species to grow – native plants are the ones the native bees are best adapted to, leave some of those dandelions and thistles they provide food for bees when there’s not much else around
- Encourage plant diversity – different bees have different needs, plant diversity encourages bee diversity
- Keep a succession of flowers in bloom – especially in spring and autumn bees may have a hard time finding food
- Live and let live – if bees choose an inconvenient place to nest, try to work around it
So here’s to thinking about our yards and our place in nature a different way ’cause I don’t know a lot of people here in the USA who are about to climb millions of trees with a feather!