I’m not sure why, but I’ve noticed a lot of “buzz” about bees lately. The other day I was indulging in pineapple coconut Haagen Dazs ice cream. I saw something on the carton about how Haagen Dazs is committed to saving the honeybees. Saving the bees? I was only vaguely aware of a bee problem…but then I pay more attention to animals with fins than animals with wings and antennae.
It turns out there is a BIG bee problem. Billions of bees have abandoned their hives and died. Theories about the cause of this disorder (called Colony Collapse Disorder) include everything from cell phone signals to pesticides, mites, disease, industrial farming (ie, monoculture), global warming, and loss of wild areas…. Basically, all the stuff we’ve done to bees that isn’t natural and thus compromises the bees’ immune systems.
Here are some ways, however, that you can help:
- Provide some shallow water for bees in your backyard. I have noticed bees drinking water in my birdbaths—they need the water…
- Plant full-sun plants like cosmos, phlox, zinnia, chrysanthemums, mallow, coneflowers, sunflowers, lobelia, mint, bee balm, butterfly weed, lupines, milkweed, asters, teasel, globe thistle and fennel. This article from Centre Daily Times (PA) provides information about how/where to plant your bee-friendly flowers.
- Support area beekeepers by eating locally grown organic honey. Mmmm….
- Check out the Haagen-Dazs website, Help the Honey Bees, which is pretty cool, and lists other bee sites as well. Eat some ice cream, too. Some of the money goes toward helping the bees…On Tuesday, May 12, you can get a free scoop of ice cream from 4-8 p.m. at participating Haagen-Dazs stores. This year Free Flavor Day will spotlight the plight of bees, which pollinate ingredients essential to more than 50 percent of Häagen-Dazs ice cream’s all-natural flavors.
- Become a beekeeper. Seriously. Here’s an article in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch about the boom in beekeeping. It costs about $300 to set oneself up as a beekeeper and business is booming.