What Can Missourians Do to Save the Bees?
Bees have been getting a lot of attention lately; from news media, activists and even our government. Bees have been disappearing and dying off in huge numbers over the last few years. This is bad news for pretty much everyone; from beekeepers, to farmers to consumers, we all have a lot to lose. However, there is something we all can do to help.
First, what is actually going on with the bees?
Honey bees are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. This is where the worker bees of a colony disappear leaving behind the queen, food and just a few nurse bees to care for the queen and remaining immature bees.
Why is This Bad?
A fact you may be surprised to hear is that one out of every three mouthfuls of food an American consumes is in someway a product of honey bee pollination. That is because so many crops are dependent on the pollination that bees provide. From coffee to fruits and nuts and even wine, the impact bees have on our food supply is critical. With so many bees disappearing and dying, our food supply is at serious risk.
Why is This Happening?
While there is no singular cause, climate change, pesticides, disease, lack of plant variety and urbanization all seem to play a role in the declining bee population.
What Can I Do To Help?
The good news is that there is something we all can do to help our honey bee friends. Here are some relatively easy things you can do in your own backyard to help create a healthy environment for bees, while still being able to enjoy it for yourself.
- Plant flowers that bees pollinate. Since one cause of the decline is a lack of variety in bee-friendly plants, growing some of these will help reestablish a bee presence in your community. If you don’t want them near your deck or hangout area, just plant these flowers in the far corner of your yard.
- Let some weeds grow! It doesn’t have to be all over your yard, but save a small patch of your yard for wild growing flowers to feed the bees. Again, leaving these in the corner of your yard will keep your deck area free of buzzing!
- Bee a Beekeeper! A big way to make a difference in your local bee community is to keep some bees yourself. Even just a couple of hives can help strengthen a local bee population.
- Cease and desist, stop using pesticides. Many pesticides don’t target specific insects and end up killing bees too. Instead, consider alternatives like ladybugs for aphids and other natural ways to protect your garden.
- Let them bee. Yes, another pun, but seriously, leave bees alone. They aren’t out for you, just your flowers (which is what we want). If you find a beehive in a place you don’t want it, hire a professional to safely move it to a better location. Here are beekeepers who conduct swarm removal in Missouri.
- Provide water for our pollinating friends. Bees work hard in the summer months. Leaving out a bowl with some rocks in it (so the bees don’t fall in and drown) will help them out when they get thirsty.
- Get active. Contact your congressman and tell them to support bee research. The more we know, the more we can do.
Missouri Plants & Flowers That Bees LOVE
If you are looking into following tip number one from above, check out this list of plants and flowers that bees love!
- The Purple Coneflower
- The Spotted Joe Pye Weed
- The Wild Bergamot
- The New England Aster
- The Cup Plant
- The Stiff Leaved Aster
Where to Buy a Bee Hive
Purchasing a Bee Hive for your property is an economical way to help the bees in Missouri. Amazon currently has a Mason Bee House available for $29.99 that would be a great addition to your home. Not only will this boost the bee population but it will also enhance your garden! This Mason Bee House is pictured below.
Bee populations are critical to our main food sources. Playing a small part in your own yard can make a big difference. Remember, it doesn’t have to be the whole yard, just dedicate a small corner to bees and you can enjoy the rest.
If you need help landscaping to create a perfect bee-human coexisting yard, contact us and we’ll make sure you and your bee friends are happy.