Disclosure: Thank you to Friends of the Earth for sponsoring this content. I received product and compensation in order to facilitate this review. All thoughts and opinions expressed below are my own. For more information, please refer to the disclosure that can be found at the bottom of this post.
Bees play a very important role in the ecosystem. They may not be very big, but don't let their size fool you. Bees do so much, even beyond providing us with the "liquid gold" that allows Americans to consume well over 400 million pounds of honey each year. Bees and other pollinators are being lost at alarming rates, raising concerns about the affects their loss will have on our environment and our food system if the trend continues. We all know that bees are pollinators, but a lot of people do not realize the significance of the role that bees play in pollination, and how extremely vital this is to our lives. A great portion of the foods we eat rely on pollination from bees and other pollinators, and a shocking number of the fruits and vegetables we consume on a regular basis (even every day!) would be lost in a world without bees. Almonds, broccoli, carrots, avocado, onions, squash, cucumbers, and apples are only a fraction of the crops that would be affected. The loss of pollinators would cost the U.S. an estimated $15 billion worth of crops, and that is only one aspect of the reality of life without bees.
Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, the current rapid loss of bee and pollinator populations is the result of a number of factors. Exposure to harmful pesticides, inadequate food supply, access to only one type of crop, parasitic mites, and a new virus are all believed to be the current culprits. It was in 2006 when beekeepers first began to raise awareness about the mass disappearance of bees. Entire hives are being abandoned, with nearly one-third of all honey bee colonies in the country vanishing.
It may "bee" hard to believe, but it is actually possible for conditions to get to a point where honey bees can't survive anymore and cease to exist. Did you know this is already a reality being dealt with in China? It's bizarre to conceive of and even more strange to observe, but the lack of honey bees and other natural pollinators in China due to the heavy pollution and pesticide use has made it necessary for humans to take over the job of pollination. It's a very expensive and inefficient alternative, taking humans far longer to accomplish what honey bees have turned into, essentially, an art form. Human pollination also meets only the pollination needs of flowers, and doesn't produce any honey! We have to take steps now to prevent ourselves from the same harsh reality that would become all-too-real if we experienced the devastating loss of our hardworking honey bees and other pollinators.
So what can be done? There are steps you can take in your every day life to help save bees and other pollinators. Taking action in your community, and in your very own backyard!
- Ensure that your yard consists of only pesticide-free plants. A study by Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute found that 51% of all "bee friendly" garden plants (36 out of 71) contained neonic pesticides that are harmful to bees---yet contained no warning to inform gardeners about the presence of these pesticides.
- Buy organic products and produce, and encourage your local businesses to carry more organics.
- Contact your state representatives and other political figures to immediately ban pesticides linked to global bee declines.
- Create a bee haven in your backyard. Provide a bee-friendly water source and bee housing to attract mason bees to your backyard, allowing them access to the vital resources they need to survive, and thrive.
Here are some fun facts about bees that you may not been aware of: 1. Honey bees wing stroke is a rapid 200 beats per second, giving them the very distinct "buzz" sound we all know them by. 2. Bees can travel at up to 15 miles per hour. 3. To collect only 1 kg (about 2.2 lbs.) of honey, a hive of bees will collectively fly about 90,000 miles---that's the equivalent of orbiting around the earth three times! 4. Talk about a "busy bee," honey bees visit anywhere from 50 to 100 individual flowers for pollen during a collection trip. 5. It is estimated that a human would have to be stung over 1,000 times by honey bees for it to fatal. 6. Honey bees perform multiple jobs throughout their lifetime, and literally change their brain chemistry before switching their role. 7. Although their brains are the size of a sesame seed, honey bees can make complex mathematical calculations in order to determine route efficiency. 8. If you see bees collecting pollen right outside of a hive, those aren't bees that are part of that hive. Bees collect honey in a "buffer zone" that is far enough from their hive that predators won't find it. 9. Most believe that honey bees always die after using their stinger, but this is because that is the fate of honey bees who sting humans. However, honey bees can sting insects and some types of animals without meeting a tragic and very immediate end. 10. Making honey is hard work, and throughout its lifetime of about 6 weeks, a single honey bee will only be able to make approximately 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey.
For more information about the importance of bees, facts about Colony Collapse Disorder, and for more ways that YOU can help, please visit Friends of the Earth and take a look at the Bee Bold Project.
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The Bee'n'Bee house makes a functional and attractive addition to your yard.
The Bee'n'Bee house features a beautiful teardrop shape, and is comprised of hollow bamboo for bees to take refuge in.
Small screws and washers are fastened at the top of the Bee'n'Bee house to keep the unit secure.
The Bee'n'Bee house is solidly constructed and the perfect size to display proudly or tuck away discreetly.
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