How to Save the Bees: Seven Ways You Can Help
Bees are one of our planet’s primary pollinators and are responsible for the health of our collective food supply. Without bees, we could not support the agriculture required to feed the Earth’s population. Sadly, bee colonies have been dwindling In some areas, they are disappearing altogether. Learn how to save the bees, and discover top ways you can help this unique insect while doing important work for the environment in the process.
Startling facts about colony collapse disorder
Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a relatively recent disease affecting bee populations all over the world. The main symptom of this disorder is the disappearance of all worker bees from the hive. The worker bees leave behind their queen and a few nurse bees to care for the young larvae, along with plenty of food. Below are five facts you should know about CCD.
- Scientists don’t know exactly what causes CCD. Proposed causes of CCD include a virus or parasite, pesticides, or environmental changes, such as climate change and habitat loss, but the science is still uncertain.
- Due to CCD, some bee species are now endangered. In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced some startling news– the rusty patched bumblebee would be placed on the endangered species list.
- Bees are responsible for the production of more than $15 billion worth of agricultural and skincare products each year.
- Almonds are almost exclusively pollinated by bees. Almond farmers now have to pay more than three times the cost to have beekeepers bring in hives to pollinate their crops, thanks to CCD. This results in higher prices for the consumer.
- CCD has so far cost the beekeeping industry $2 billion to replace the 10 million hives affected by the disorder.
How to help the bee population: Seven ideas
There are many ways to help save the bees and help the environment in the process. Whether you’re wondering how to save the bees or how to help endangered species in general, use these ideas to help the bee population and protect agriculture.
1. Start a community garden
Plant a sustainable community garden with vegetables, herbs, and flowers that attract bees. Raise awareness for your cause by starting a community fundraiser, and collect donations to purchase garden supplies. Here are some helpful guidelines for what to include in your bee garden:
- Begin by making your garden friendly to bees by planting flowers that are blue, purple, or yellow. Bees can’t see red tones, so avoid red and pink flowers so bees can actually get to the pollen.
- Bees especially like herbs such as lavender, mint, cilantro, and basil. You can also grow native plant species to your area which helps both bees and the environment.
- The seeds of leafy vegetables are a winter staple for bees. Plants like kale, collard greens, and cabbage and let these vegetables go to seed after harvesting.
- Set out a small tray of water, changed daily. Including something to drink will help keep honey bees in your garden longer.
- Skip the pesticides as even organic pesticides are harmful to bees. Use other methods for repelling pests, such as planting garlic or rotating your crops in order to keep your garden and bees healthy.
2. Support local agriculture
Like many insects, bees have a symbiotic relationship with their local environment, helping crops thrive. Bees and other pollinators are responsible for the production of 87% of the world’s food crops. By supporting local agriculture, you’re helping local bee populations live and thrive. Shop at your local farmers market when possible, and buy skincare products that are made with local beeswax.
3. Raise money for charity
Start a “save the bees campaign” and collect donations for environmental charities and organizations that help save bee populations. Or, help your community and start a fundraiser that benefits local beekeepers and farmers. Share your fundraiser on social media to gather even more support for saving the bees.
4. Build habitats for bees
A bee’s favorite pre-built natural habitat is simply an untreated block of wood with lots of holes. Bees love to burrow and nest, and creating honeybee habitats will encourage these helpful pollinators to return to your neighborhood to collect the pollen and nectar they need. Cover the holes with chicken wire to ensure that birds leave the bees alone. By nature, many bee species are solitary, so no need to worry about attracting an entire hive into your yard.
5. Volunteer with your local beekeeping society
Most states have a local beekeeping society, and many need help from volunteers. You can donate your time to help with outreach at community events, or you can organize a nonprofit fundraiser to collect donations for the society.
6. Join your local beekeeping club
If you are interested in keeping a beehive of your own, joining a beekeeping club is a great way to get started. Participating in your local beekeeping club can be a fun way to meet others in your community who care about the environment, and develop your beekeeping skills in the process. If you’re not quite ready to jump into a beekeeping club, you might want to check out some online options, like beekeeping groups on Facebook or YouTube videos on the subject.
7. Sponsor a beehive
As bee populations have declined, the cost of commercial bee pollination has skyrocketed. This means that farmers have to pay more to have their crops pollinated, passing that cost onto the consumer in the form of higher prices. By sponsoring a beehive, you’re helping beekeepers and farmers alike keep costs down and stay in business.
See how others use fundraising to help save the bees
Crowdfunding is one of the best ways people can spread awareness about a cause they care about, while raising helpful donations in the process. fundraising through GoFundMe means more of the funds you raise will benefit your cause, so you can make the most impact. Take a look at how these individuals took action to help save the bees through fundraising.
Urban Beehive Project
A team of architects started a fundraiser to promote awareness about the importance of bees, and the vital role they play in the global food supply. The team collected funds to place four permanent beehives within an existing community garden in Prince Edward, Canada, maintained by a volunteer beekeeper. All the honey produced from the hives is donated to a local food bank. Almost $10,000 was raised in support of the project.
Beehives for farmers in Kenya
Farmers in the Tsavo region of Kenya found that bees not only helped with pollination, but served to keep elephants from snacking on their crops. Elephants naturally avoid the sound of bees buzzing, and incorporating beehives helped reduce human-animal conflict. Svetla, a volunteer, started a fundraiser to collect money for more hives, which also provided extra income to these farmers through honey production. She raised over $1,500 in support of her cause.
Start a save the bees campaign today
Help bees by starting a fundraiser to support conservation efforts. Bees are important in ensuring the world’s agriculture supply, and the health of the bee population is important to each one of us. Sign up to start your fundraiser today, and see how you can make a difference.