Bees Help us Feed the World
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 how few bees came into our yards this year. And those that did were more bumble bees, rather than honey bees.
Large beekeeper image in this collage courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
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.
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.
- 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?
What can you do about the decline of bees? This article from PBS gives some suggestions:
- Go retro – Become a backyard beekeeper
- Get back to nature – grow vegetables and flowers to give existing bees something to pollinate
- Give the bees a voice – write to your congressmen and senators to support funding of honeybee research
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.
If the population of bees decline, images like this will be few and far between.
As far planting to attract bees, the list is long. Here are a few that always seem to do the trick for me:
- Coneflowers (Echinacea)
- Bee Balm
- Butterfly Bush
- Magnolia trees
- and many, many more!
This great shot of a cone flower show just how affective it is in attracting insect. This time it was a butterfly and bee at the same time! Shared from Organized Clutter.
Look at the size of this monster compared to Gardening Cook, Jennie Ayala’s nail. That is a big bumble!
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."