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The Buzz on Bees
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
by Maura Curtis | Communications Intern
When you hear a bee buzz past your ear or watch one fly from flower to flower, you may not realize that they are contributing to our food supply. According to the USDA, one in three mouthfuls of food in the American diet is in some way a product of honeybee pollination. Unfortunately, the honeybee population is decreasing at an alarming rate –– 42% of bee colonies collapsed in the United States in 2015. It is more important than ever to support and conserve our honeybee population and be conscious of this serious challenge.
Why is this happening?
Information from the Natural Resource Defense Council
- Pesticides: The use of neonicotinoids, an insecticide used to kill insects considered pests, is especially harmful to bees. It is one of the most commonly used pesticides in industrial agriculture practice.
- Change in habitat: With the rise of urbanization comes a decrease in rural areas and green spaces. Bees are beginning to lack the flowers and habit they rely on for food.
- Climate change: Climate change affects the blooming cycle for many plants, which in turn affects bees’ ability to pollinate these plants before they finish blooming.
- Disease: Overuse of pesticides is weakening bees, making colonies more susceptible to diseas
Allen Centennial Garden is creating an educational program called, “Education A La Carte”, which is funded by a $1,000 grant from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s C.D. Besadny Conservation Grant Program. Education A La Carte will introduce a series of interactive, mobile carts highlighting pollinators of interest that are important for Wisconsin with information on how to create habitats suitable for each insect. This team also is designing observational native bee houses to highlight the fascinating and important lifecycles of lesser known bees. Overall, we design our gardens with pollinators in mind and try to create forage for them for as long as Wisconsin’s sometimes turbulent climate will allow!
What can you do?
From CNN’s article, “5 Ways to Help Save the Bees”
- Plant: Get your green thumbs ready! Planting is an easy step to help save the bees. Spruce up your backyard garden, start an urban garden in your neighborhood, or even add some potted plants to your apartment balcony
- Reduce: Be conscious of your use of pesticides and limit or stop using them whenever possible. Bees are more important than a front lawn that isn’t spotted by dandelions!
- Register: Be a part of the bee community! Register your garden on the Pollinator’s Partnership to help build a community of bee-conscious gardeners around the world
- Buy local: Support the beekeepers in your area
- Donate: The Pollinator Partnership is the largest non-profit dedicated to saving the bees in the world. You can also look for local opportunities to donate or volunteer. Wisconsin Environment has begun a petition to tell the EPA stop the use of bee-killing pesticides.