Letter to the Editor
Close your eyes for a moment and try to picture the world without flowering plans.
There would be no more violets, sunflowers or asters. Picture the world without juicy apples and plump blueberries. Without red tomatoes and crunchy broccoli… Oh, what a stark and unhealthy world this would be!
The scary thing is, based on the survival of the humble bee, this ugly picture can become a reality. You wouldn’t think it by just looking at them, but bees are a big deal to the environment and to the entire human race. If they go, life as we know it would change in truly detrimental ways.
The importance of bees
Simply put, bees are pollinators and, in fact, are the world’s top pollinators. When bees buzz from bud to bud drinking upon sweet nectar, they are also transferring pollen from one plant to the stigma of another, helping to produce more crops and flowers. It’s a symbiotic relationship borne since the beginning of time that we have come to rely on heavily. The hungry work and dedication of the bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 400 agricultural plants that the world cannot live without.
So why are the bees dying?
Over the past decade or so, bees have been dying at an alarming rate. The mysteriousness of colony collapse disorder (CCD) and the decline of domesticated bees are causing concern and rousing questions. After researching this matter, scientists have discovered the obvious answer – we are inadvertently killing the bees.
- Exposure to Pesticides: Research has linked the widely-used agricultural insecticide neonicotinoids to be toxic to bees.
- Disease: The exposure to parasitic mites causes the formation of viral and bacterial disease that kill the bees in large numbers.
- Lack of flowers and habitat: Bees rely on trees to build their hives and the nutrition of flowers to survive. As we continue to prune the earth of its green spaces, we are putting bees at risk for extinction.
How you can help save the bees
- Become a bee advocate: Continue to educate yourself and others on the importance of bees. Talk to your kids about it, bring it up at family dinners, and discuss it with your neighbors as you chat over your morning coffee. Doing this will increase bee appreciation and awareness and can make an important difference in bringing forth positive change.
- Ditch synthetic chemicals: In addition to harming your own health, all synthetic chemicals contribute to the decline of bees and other helpful insects. Therefore, you should stop using chemical cleaners, air fresheners, pesticides, herbicides, hairsprays and other chemical-induced entities. Instead, look for greener alternatives formulated with gentle, earth-friendly ingredients.
- Become a gardener: Leave an undisturbed patch of land in your green space for bees to gather and build their nests. Also, plant bee-friendly flowers and weeds in your own yard as well as any green space you find along your path to help increase the number of bees in your community.
- Become a backyard beekeeper: Becoming a backyard beekeeper is one of the most fulfilling ways to help support the honey bee. Not only are you helping save the species, you’ll have your own supply of delicious, organic honey and beeswax to use at home or sell at the local farmers market. Your first step would be to get in contact with your local beekeeper association. Understanding the colony of bees you will be mastering is essential to success. You will need to learn about the equipment needed and protective tools used as well as how to allocate the bees, create a habitat, extract the honey, and keep the bees healthy and happy. Editor’s Note: Per the City of Clovis municipal code: “No person shall keep or maintain within the City any stand of bees except in conjunction with an existing agricultural operation.”
- Walk Away: Yes, bees have a mean sting, however, they usually do not attack unless provoked. If you come across an occupied hive, do not destroy it or swat at the bees. Simply walk away and let them be.
The flight, buzz, and flower-dance of bees are simple pleasures that we always enjoy and value. They have been tirelessly supplying the world with goodness, and we owe it to them to ensure their survival.