By Corrine Johnston
You’ve probably heard by now that the bees are in trouble.
This is nothing new. In fact, the bees have been on a downward spiral since World War II according to Marla Spivak, a bee scientist at the University of Minnesota.
See her TED talk here
The reason why?
We changed our farming practices.
Farmers and growers have stopped planting cover crops such as clover and alfalfa. This is a problem because clover and alfalfa are very nutritious food for bees. Herbicides also came into play to kill off those pesky weeds. Many of these weeds are actually flowering plants needed by bees. In addition, farms began to grow larger and larger crop monocultures or in other words fields dominated by the same crop. This creates two problems: it eliminates many of the flowering plants needed by bees. It also creates a feast for pests which led to the need for pesticides. Researchers have found that every load of pollen that a bee collects has pesticides in it. We have not only been contaminating the bees and the earth but ourselves too.
What do we do?
Everyone can help bees in two easy ways:
- Plant bee friendly flowers
- Don’t contaminate the flowers
Even though it seems like a small fix to a big problem, when bees are healthy, we’re healthy too. The food they eat helps produce what we eat.
As Marla Spivak said, “Every one of us needs to behave a little bit more like a bee society, where each of our individual actions can contribute to a grand solution, an emergent property that’s much greater than the mere sum of our individual actions”
If you’d like to know more, click here.