Honeybees worldwide are facing multiple threats. Here's how you can help.
Chances are you haven’t seen a honeybee in your vegetable garden or flower garden very often. It’s true, you might have spotted some bees, but they were more likely to be bumblebees or carpenter bees—not honeybees.
Honeybees all over the world are under multiple threats. Declining habitats and the destruction of native landscapes (caused by development), combined with monoculture-farming practices (farms growing only one crop) and the attack of a parasitic mite are collapsing bee colonies. That, in turn, is causing major problems for farmers who rely on bees to pollinate their crops. In short, our food supply is at risk.
It’s easy to ask, “what can just one person do?” It’s especially easy to ask that question if you live in an apartment or condo without a yard, or even if you do have a yard and live in a city suburb.
As it turns out, bee researchers say there are several things the average person can do to help the bees, even if you don’t want to become a beekeeper.
Five ways to help the honeybees
- Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard. Check with your local garden store for a list of flowers that are favorable to bees. Plant those and plant a lot of the same type of bloom together. Bees like to forage.
- Don’t use chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn and garden. Chemicals and pest treatments aren’t good for bees. Check with your garden supply store for information on which chemicals don’t harm bees.
- Weeds aren’t all bad. There is the stigma that weeds are generally bad for yards, but bees love clover, dandelions and even wildflowers. It’s not a bad thing to let some of your lawn just grow wild.
- Realize that bees aren’t out to get you; bees are looking for pollen and nectar and they will fly up to three miles from their hive to get it. They are NOT looking for people. So stay calm if a bee flies around you. They can smell the pheromones that come with fear and anger and it can be a trigger to sting you. Also don’t stand in front of a hive opening or a flight pathway to flowers. If you don’t get in the way, chances are the bee won’t bother you.
- Buy local honey; it’s always good to help the local beekeeper.
Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on Sci Tech Now North Carolina, a weekly science series that airs Tuesdays on UNC-TV. In addition to producing these special segments, Frank will provide additional information related to his stories through this North Carolina Science Now Reporter's Blog!