“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more man.”
~ Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee (often misattributed to Albert Einstein)
Did you know that bees pollinate over one-third of the food crops we eat?
Almonds, blueberries, apples, cherries, cranberries, melon, sunflowers, alfalfa, broccoli, cucumbers, onions, oranges, avocados, pumpkins
~ and many more flowering food crops ~
are pollinated by bees.
Almonds are 100% dependent on bees, blueberries, cherries and apples, 90% dependent on bees.
For most crops, yields would be severely reduced without bees.
It takes around 30,000 bees to pollinate an acre of fruit trees. Pollination success is increased if there are more present at peak flowering time.
Almonds trees flower in very early spring, when many bees are sluggish from the cold, making the trees’ 100% dependency on bees even more precarious when there are weather extremes.
Since 2006, there have been massive die-offs of bee colonies, all across the U.S. and Europe.
Globally, pollinators are declining in abundance and diversity, as we grow more and more food on less and less land to meet the world population’s food demands.
The causes of the mysterious condition plaguing honeybees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, are suspected to include:
mites and parasites,
weakened immune systems,
lack of plant diversity causing bee malnutrition,
effects of long-distance transport on colonies,
and pervasive pesticide use.
Syngenta says it is only pesticide misuse that causes problems, while an Environmental Microbiology article on the National Institutes of Health website discusses extensively the pesticide/parasite interactions that significantly weaken honeybees.
Bees fly the equivalent of more than twice around the world to gather a pound of honey.
One worker bee gathers in her entire, six week life, about one-tenth of a teaspoon of honey.
It takes around 10,000 bees to gather that one pound.
Some things to consider this Earth Day — and going forward:
You can help the bees. and the human race.
Encourage garden sex.
Plant natural pollinators: native plants for your area. These plants are naturally more robust and they provide the best source of pollen for bees and other insect pollinators.
Grow your own garden — the benefits are boundless for you and the bees.
Buy local food and honey when possible.
Reduce or eliminate pesticide use.
Use natural fertilizers rather than chemically-based ones.
Avoid GMO seeds. The jury is either out or paid by the chemical companies who sell them — there is no clear answer on whether GMO seeds are safe. It is clear the companies that sell GMO seed do not have small farmer-friendly policies. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is clear that GMO foods are highly dependent on pesticides, killer of bees. Pesticides like Roundup are known to be toxic.
Consider an organic yard/garden.
Consider an organic diet. At least, try some organic tomatoes in season — their taste is outrageously better than non-organic. You might be tempted to try other organic foods, then.
Better taste, better nutrition, better for the planet.
With the loss of bees is the loss of our food supply, loss of diversity in plants, loss of human life.
What better way to acknowledge Earth Day than to save the bees?
~ all photos taken in my front yard garden ~