This Saturday, Aug. 17, is National Honey Bee Day. It’s no big secret at this point that, while honey bees play a vital role in our environment and daily lives, their populations have been declining due to factors like climate change and pesticide use.
“Sadly, more than one third of all bee species are facing declines in population and almost ten percent are facing complete extinction,” Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said in a statement. “But the exciting thing is that there are so many tiny actions all of us can do to play a part in protecting bees. Protecting bees is not just the job of beekeepers — we all have a role, and it can start in our own backyards.”
So, in honor of National Honey Bee Day this year, here are five easy actions you can take to help out the bees as recommended by Flow Hive.
- Stop using pesticides. Yes, really — enough already. Pesticides are shown to be on the biggest threats to pollinators worldwide, so it’s not just the bees you’re hurting when you use them. Replace garden pesticides with natural alternative like garlic, onion/salt/chili/pepper spray, or soap and orange citrus oil.
- Plant bee-friendly flowers. You don’t have to be a bee-keeper to make your garden bee-friendly. Make sure you have plants that come up at different times of year so that there is something available to pollinators throughout the seasons. This include tree and shrubs — which produce higher quantities of pollen and nectar — and smaller plants, which pollinators forage more regularly.
- Get messy. It’s okay to be lazy in your garden! Let veggie and herb plants flower and dandelions bloom — it’s better for everyone all around.
- Educate kids on the importance of pollinators. Get kiddos outside and off the screens by introducing them to bees, what they do, and how their work impacts the environment (fun fact: bees pollinate 30 percent of the world’s food crop and 90 percent of the wild plants). Take them to a vegetable garden and remind them that bees aren’t something to be afraid of.
- Become a beekeeper. This one is a little more involved, of course, but backyard beekeepers continue to increase in popularity, and you could be one of them. Learn how to care for your own colony by joining local beekeeping organizations — community guidance is important because, without the right information, backyard beekeepers can do more harm than good.