Declining Bee Population – How Important are They?

With all the talk of GMOs, pesticides and large scale farming, one has to ask the question “How important are bees to our Food Supply and to nature in general?”  I, for one, and many of my gardening friends have noted the declining bee population.  And those that do visit our yards are the bumble bees, rather than honey bees. 

The declining bee population affects our food supply. See what you can do to help attract bees.Large beekeeper image in this collage courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Are bees important to us? The answer is a resounding YES! According to  the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bees pollinate approximately 80% of our flowering crops.   These crops account for about 1/3 of the world’s food supply.  If we were to lose them, some of our favorite edibles would no longer be available to us.  In addition, alfalfa is used for feed for cattle, so this could also affect the beef and dairy industries if alfalfa pollination becomes affected.

Become a backyard beekeeper

Photo shared from PBS

How real is the problem of a declining bee population?

There is a lot of talk about a declining bee population but how real is this problem? During the last six years, the die off of bees, who are primarily responsible for pollination, has become quite dramatic.  This phenomenon is known as colony collapse disorder. This is a big problem for us, because of these facts:

  • Bees are vital to our food chain
  • Bee populations are declining at an alarming rate (affiliate link)
  • This decline could also affect the beef and dairy industry

Think about this for a minute:  Would you want to live without orange juice, jam or honey?  Can you imagine the cost of food in future if the decline of the bee population continues as it has been lately?

Honey bee on a Mimosa tree bloom

Image shared from Gardening Cook Fan Tamara Martin

How can we help with the declining bee population?

All  is not lost! There are many things that we can do to encourage bees in our yards.

Back yard beekeepers help with the decline of the bee population

What can you do about the decline of bees?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Go retro – Become a backyard beekeeper
  • Get back to nature – grow flowering fruits and  vegetables as well as a wide variety of flowers to give existing bees (and other insects) something to pollinate
  • Give the bees a voice – write to your congressmen and senators to support funding of honeybee research
  • Plant flowers that bloom in sequence so that bees have something to pollinate all through the growing season
  • Keep a herb garden growing all the time outdoors.  Bees love herbs too!
  • Plant flowers that are white, blue and purple. The bees prefer them over pink and red flowers.
  • Grow native plants. These plants attract native bees that are found in your area.
  • Don’t use pesticides and chemical weed killers. There are many natural weed killers available.

Any effort that you can make, whether it is large or small will help raise the awareness of the importance of protecting the bee population.

Honey bee feasting in my front garden

If the population of bees decline, images like this will be few and far between.

Honey bee hive

Image shared from Gardening Cook Fan Tamara Martin

Flowers that Attract Bees

One of the biggest ways that you can help is to plant flowers that bees love!Nectar Plants that attract bees

As far planting to attract  bees, the list is long. Annuals, perennials and some vegetables all attract bees. Here are a few that always seem to do the trick for me:

Do what you can so that images like the next two are a common site in your yard!

Coneflower attracting both butterfly and beeThis great shot of a cone flower show just how effective it is in attracting insect. This time it was a butterfly and bee at the same time!  Shared from Organized Clutter.

Huge bumble beeLook at the size of this monster compared to Gardening Cook, Jennie Ayala’s nail.  That is a big bumble!How important are bees?

Have you thought about what you can do to help the declining bee population? I’d love to hear your comments below.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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