You don’t have to be a champion of animal rights to care about bees dying out.
You just have to like food.
By Joel Worth
Bees aren’t the only pollinators out there. But they are, by far, the most efficient.
Let’s put it this way. If bees all die, we can quit worrying about climate change. We’ll starve to death before the permafrost melts.
The catastrophic decline in bee populations doesn’t make headlines anywhere near often enough. It’s not sexy news.
But while we pant after Lady Gaga’s latest outrage, the boring farms that feed us draw closer to peril.
It’s now a common thing for farms to rent bees, which get trucked in from elsewhere. Without these mercenary pollinators, crops would fail.
Scientists point to pesticides as an obvious reason why bees are dying. But the pesticide industry got busy and pointed back at the varroa mite.
While competing interests fiddle, we may want to consider the easiest things we can do to save bees. They are:
- Put down the bug and weed killers. The one kills bees, the other kills bee food. You can save money and go to heaven by leaving the poisons on the shelf at Walmart.
- Leave your dandelions alone. Bees don’t get enough nutrients from dandelions alone. But this sturdy and abundant little weed often saves bees from starvation while they are looking for a richer meal.
- Learn to identify honey bees and bumblebees. Bumblers are more or less unmistakable. Honey bees can be confused with wasps. But a few seconds spent looking at a photo of honey bees will show you what to look for.
- Where you see bees in your yard, don’t mow. Bees latch on tight to any steady source of nutrients. They love milkweed, goldenrod, pokeweed, and wild clover. Learn to love the weed. And know that, in other parts of the world, people prize that weed that you take for granted or despise. If you can’t give up your whole yard to bees, at least set aside a corner or fence buffer.
- Buy locally harvested honey. Bee keepers are the first line of defense of bee extinction. Supporting small-scale honey production ensures a good distribution of bee habitat.