Time to ‘bee-ware’

Despite many people’s tendency to run at the sight of a bee, not seeing them at all could mean the end of the human race.

Unfortunately, that possibility, once a non-issue for many, is becoming much more real as the population of bees worldwide has continued to decline.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways to preserve the species, both humans and bees.

Whether destroying entire hives with pesticides or chemically treating the flowers in their gardens, people are primarily to blame for the decline in the world’s bee population.

To reverse the effects of years of harmful practices, you can begin to plant more flowers in your yard to help provide bees with forage. Avoid chemically treating any flowers you grow, as the chemicals can negatively affect the bees’ systems. Plant plenty of the same plants together, because bees prefer volume.

The chemicals and pest treatments you put on your lawn and garden can also damage honeybee systems. These treatments can be especially damaging if applied while the flowers are in bloom, because they will seep into the pollen and nectar and be taken back to the beehive, where they also get into the honey — which could ultimately affect us as well.

Beekeepers are one of the biggest factors in the long-term survival of bees. Rather than purchasing honey that has been imported from another country and could potentially be contaminated with chemicals, try attending your local farmers market and meeting the beekeepers responsible for harvesting the honey.

There are beekeepers at nearly every farmers market selling their honey and other products. By having a conversation with them, you can find out what they are doing to their hives, and how they are keeping their bees. If they are thoughtful, respectful beekeepers who keep their bees in a sustainable, natural way, by supporting them you’re also helping to build the bee population.

Arguably one of the most important factors in keeping bees alive is to stop destroying hives or killing bees every time you see them. Obviously, active beehives in certain areas with children nearby can pose a threat, but more often than not they’re harmless.

If you find a hive near your home that raises concerns, before destroying it with chemicals, do your research to see if there’s anyone local who can remove the hive by the use of a “smoker,” which temporarily interferes with the bees’ communication abilities. The smoke causes the bees to be unable to communicate that an intruder is present.

Bumble bee

Bumble bee

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