Saving Bees - Q&A

Do you know that honeybees are responsible for 1 in every 3 bites of food we eat? That’s right! They’re the world’s busiest pollinators, with a really important job to do. Honeybees pollinate more than 100 types of crops in the U.S., help maintain the diversity of plant life and ulmately, play a crucial role in our ecosystem.

Unfortunately, it’s geng tougher for honeybees to survive. Their populaon is dwindling due to loss of habitat, pescide and inseccide use, and parasites.

Humans benet greatly from a healthy honeybee populaon. Because the future of food depends on healthy pollinators, it’s me for everyone — even the kids — to make honeybees a priority.

Q: Why are bees Important?

A: Honeybees are vital to our supply of healthy foods. Honeybees are pollinators, which means they travel from plant to plant to collect and deposit pollen – which makes it possible for many owers, fruits and vegetables to reproduce. Bees also pollinate the clover and alfalfa that cows eat. In fact, one in every three bites of food you eat depends on pollinaon, either directly or indirectly. So, if these hardworking bees and other pollinators disappear, many of our favorite foods like apples, almonds, strawberries and tomatoes will be greatly aected.

Q: Why are bee populaons declining?

A: There has been a noceable and steady decline in the bee populaon, which sciensts and beekeepers believe may be caused by a combinaon of factors, including parasites, loss of habitat and increased exposure to pescides and inseccides. Although the problem is complex, it’s not too late to help preserve pollinators — and secure the future of food.

Q: What can we do to help honeybee populaons?

A: Plenty! Here are seven simple ways you can help these vitally important insects thrive — right in your own backyard.

1. Go wild. Let part of your lawn grow without mowing. Bees love owering weeds and grasses.

2. Grow nave plants. A patch of wildowers will add color and a nectar source for bees. Culvate a landscape with diverse colors, shapes, sizes and bloom mes. Don’t have a yard? Grow pollinator-friendly plants in an outdoor space in your city. (Seed ings are perfect for tossing into abandoned lots or other urban greenspaces)

3. Create a bee “pond.” Bees can’t swim or get their wings wet, but they need water, too! Try lling a shallow pie pan with pebbles and water, so bees have somewhere to land and sip some H2O. Bonus: no cleaning required! Bees actually love “dirty” water, which is why they love the water that gathers in saucers under ower pots.

4. Ditch the harmful sprays. The sprays we tend to use on plants and veggies hurt the good bugs and keep us from geng the nutrients we need. Care for your lawn and garden organically and explore alternaves like incorporang plants that aract benecial insects for pest control. Try a sprinkling of cayenne pepper around pestered plants. Somemes the best method is to pick unwanted bugs right o!

5. Buy local, organic produce. Support farmers who are doing their best to support bees. Anyme you choose organic food, you know pescides that can harm our pollinators were not used. Bee on the lookout for veggies and fruits, which contain nutrients that can help our bodies stay healthy — all brought to you by bees! And don’t forget to buy local honey! You’ll help support a thriving local honeybee ecology, which means that more food can be grown locally.

6. Please don’t swat! Honeybees very rarely sng, but they are curious creatures. If a honeybee approaches you, be sll as she checks to see if you have any nectar. Once she knows you’re not a ower, she’ll buzz along. While other kinds of insects can sng, like wasps and yellow jackets, they look very dierent from honeybees. Learn how to recognize honeybees so you’ll know they mean no harm. Once you know what a honeybee looks like, help your friends learn, too!