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What’s the Buzz on Bees

Bees are a vital part of the ecosystem we live in. They pollinate our flowers and crops which are important to our agricultural industry, and really, our survival. Plant pollination is the reproduction for the plants themselves. While some rely on the wind, other critters, or can pollinate themselves, often the bee is the most important part of the process. Bees tend to focus on one plant type at a time to maximize pollination. Without bees, we would lose at least one-third of our staple food goods. Pollinated plants are also vital to other animals that feed on greens, along with livestock that requires clover and other small plants for food.

While bees have taken this large task under their wing (ba-dum-tsh), they are being threatened as a dying species. Pesticides, parasites, disease, and habitat loss have wrecked havoc on bees and are causing them to disappear at alarming rates. But for an insect that is so coveted in our food supply, not much action is being taken to make sure they survive.

Certain insecticides that contain harmful ingredients have been temporarily banned in Europe. However, there is a parasite that can quickly give bees a virus and it’s also known to kill entire colonies. Many reasons why bees may be disappearing are unknown and the threat of them going away completely is likely not plausible due to many hives being managed by keepers. But the threat is still there.

There are a few things that every person can do to make sure they’re helping bees live on. Even the smallest gesture can make a big difference.

1. Plant bee-friendly flowers and herbs in your garden or yard.

Lists can be found online about what bees like the most. This will also attract others like butterflies, increasing not only your bees population, but allowing you to brag about the new butterfly garden you have.

2. Don’t be in such a rush to pull out weeds.

Often times those dandelions and wild flowers that are yanked first thing can be the first source of spring pollination to bees. Keeping out more flowers and clover will attract bees to your yard and keep them happy.

3. Don’t use chemicals or pesticides on your lawn.

Is having the greenest of green lawns really worth it? Pesticides can be damaging to bees and aid in killing them. No lawn is perfect. If you’re worried about not having a pristine beauty, turn it into a garden. No more lawn to worry about.

4. Buy local honey/produce.

Supporting local farmers has tons of benefits. By purchasing their honey and produce, you not only keep them in business, but doing so also supports beekeepers and lets them know they’re doing a good job and should keep doing what they’re doing.

5. Build a bird bath for the birds and the bees.

Bees get thirsty too. Who would have thought. Keep out a bird bath for your bird friends, but make sure it’s also bee-accessible with small stones they can land on, or filled to the brim, to keep them hydrated and ready to pollinate.

6. Bee (get it) your own bee keeper.

Want more bees? Become a keeper of the bees. With this new power you can have a hive right in your backyard. Get honey, pollinate your brand new garden, and spend all the time you have spent mowing the lawn on tending to your bees. Trade honey with your neighbors for produce from their well-pollinated garden.

7. Contact your representatives.

If things are really going to change, there needs to be a policy change. Contact your representatives and let them know that you want to see changes in how bees are being treated. They’re important for our survival, so who wouldn’t want to do what’s best?

And remember, bees are your friend. Before you start swatting, screaming, and running away, let the little bumble, honey, or other do its thing and float on its merry way.

Websites you can check out: 1, 2, 3

Picture Sources: 1, 2, 3

Amber Lauzé is a senior Entrepreneurial Studies and Management double major from Auburn, Maine. When not writing for HCXU, she can found at one of her many jobs, or hunting for her cat that likes to hide in blankets.
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