Honeybee Health & How To Help

Honeybee Health & How To Help

Pollinators are vital parts of food production and healthy ecosystems. As honeybees face massive decline, here are some of the ways we can all contribute to their revival.

It seems to be fairly common knowledge now that one in every three bites of food you consume was made possible by a pollinator, specifically the Honeybee. Yet with this knowledge that the Honeybee is so important to our food security, there is still a small portion of us who are taking action.

Despite the fear many people have of Honeybees, they truly are remarkable creatures. Functioning as a super organism, Honeybees care for their young and each other, build structurally sound homes using geometrical guidelines, pollinate our food, encourage diversity and create this beautiful substance called Honey to top it off. They work tirelessly day in and day out in a multitude of tasks to ensure the survival of its kind, but they need our help.

Honeybees are experiencing death and collapse of their colonies at alarming rates. 30-40% of commercial colonies are lost every year leaving the overall population in decline. What was once a mystery is now clear – Honeybees are facing attack on many different fronts: loss of habitat, loss of diverse foraging space, disease, illness and Neonicotinoid pesticides. This combination of factors creates a difficult solution, as there isn’t just one thing causing their death. However, the Neonicotinoid pesticide is by far the worse element to this dilemma.

Neonicotinoids are a systemic pesticide, applied on the seed, in the soil or foliar. The plant takes up this pesticide into its entire being, not just their roots or leaves but into the pollen, nectar, stem, flowers etc. Thus any creature that forages or feeds on the plant experiences a multitude of symptoms and eventually death. Many recent studies show, that the Neonicotinoid that are being used in agriculture, urban areas and essentially right in our own backyards.

Helping Honeybee survival may seem impossible or disconcerting for the everyday individual, yet there are many steps you can take to contribute to the solution! You don’t have to be a beekeeper or researcher to make an impact on their health and revival.

Below are 8 ways that you can be a part of their recovery!

Interested in learning more? The Ecology Center hosts year-round Backyard Skills Workshops to inspire and empower you to become stewards of a sustainable future. Join us tomorrow for a Backyard Beekeeping workshop, and view our calendar for all upcoming opportunities.

Instructions
  • Purchase honey from a local beekeeper that is raw and untreated and comes from hives that are cared for with natural methods.
  • Encourage your friends and family to learn about Honeybees and help de-stigmatize them from being scary stinging insects to intelligent and necessary creatures.
  • Refrain from using pesticides in your home gardens.
  • When purchasing plants and flowers for your landscape and gardens, buy from organic nurseries. Big box stores have plants that are already pre-treated with pesticides, including Neonicotinoids.
  • Purchase organic seeds, others are already pre-coated with Neonicotinoids.
  • If possible, keep bees in your backyard.
  • Support organizations like the Pollinator Partnership, Pollinator Action Fund, Xerces Society and others within your own communities.
  • Finally, befriend a beekeeper and continue to learn about these lovely, fuzzy, beautiful creatures!