I’ve spoken about Bee’s before, several times in fact . How important they are to us, how to be friendly to them, let’s face it without bees- there would be no food. Once the food is gone- What else s there?
It’s so important to have bees around, nature wouldn’t even exist without bees! Bees are dying off in an alarming rate, mostly due to neonic pesticides which are a top factor in this problem. Each year Beekeepers lose about 30% of their own hives, and the number of sightings in neighbors has dropped significantly- but before I get ahead of myself let me lay down some information for you.
What are neonic pesticides? It’s the leading class of insecticide used throughout the world, and it is the top factor in the bee die offs. It’s used highly in commercially and large crops and or gardens, sold over the counter in nearly ( not all) garden center and stores holding garden products. The worst is? Once it’s used it stays within the soil for years to come, meaning it’s effects can be felt for years down the line. They move through the plant, to the pollen and then to the bee- back to the hive! Not only is the plant sucking it up, the soil absorbs it, it seeps into watering systems, people wake up!
These pesticides don’t only kill bees, but all the beneficial insects , butterflies, ladybugs, even birds and earthworms! And we’re eating this food that’s sprayed with it? It’s a whole other story but think about that a second! It’s time we started to take a stand against this and help save the bees!
U.S. EPA needs to step up and protect the environment, now before it’s too late! While there are small steps happening- Cities, states and universities across the U.S. have started taking steps to restrict neonicotinoids . the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it will phase out neonics by 2016. There are a few new guidelines to limit the use, but there is still a huge amount left to knock out of the water- literally! There’s still over 500 products out on the shelves containing these harmful ingredients that can even be found in most garden centers! Shocking considering what they end up doing. I’m a gardener, the last thing I want to do is kill an insect that is going to help my garden thrive! I was even more shocked to find out that my local shop I used to head too, was one of these top sellers of the pesticides. I stepped in one day and asked for some wonderful flowers that were self seeding, not only did I hear that what they had was all hybrid but sterile, but they treated their plants with chemicals as well. When I pointed out how it killed off bees, they actaully laughed until the lady ended up glancing around at what really broke my heart- Not a bee in sight. It should have been a major clue but then again, bees are dropping out of sight day by day. I have known this for some time, what I didn’t know was these locally grown and lovable growers treated every plant with the number one killer of bees! I have since taken up a new center who have a thriving bee collection among their flowers that aren’t treated with anything but loving care.
When you head to a garden center, or pick up plants, make sure you are picking up plants that have not been treated with any neonics. Just ask whoever works there, if they don’t know, walk on out. They should know! Make it known that you want plants not treated with any pesticides. Ace, True value, are one of them. other places, Lowes, Home Depot have been working on taking their stance to label anything with neoicotinoids in them. Many nurseries and garden companies are taking a stand against harmful pesticides, so you can find them, you just need to look and ask about it! BEEBOLD, speak up and ask! Take a look at this video before I tell you how you can help in your own backyard to take your own stand and help save the bees!
How can BEE-helpful in your own backyard?
There’s several things you can do to help save bees in the area and in the long run everywhere! The first and biggest thing you can ever do for bees is- not spray your yard or garden with pesticides! Be free of any harmful chemicals that kill off not just bees, but beneficial bugs . There are several different ways to keep the yard weed free, and looking bright and green without spraying with the harmful commercially sold sprays.
Two chemical free ways to prevent and get rid of weeds in the yard and garden-
Vinegar- Such a helpful thing in the garden. Use a spray bottle and spray your weeds directly.
Cornmeal- Sprinkle the corn meal in the area you don’t want any weeds, it’s like a seed birth control- just be very careful where you put it. If you have self seeding flowers around and like the popping up by themselves do not use this method around those plants. Also cornmeal can get rid of snails! ( Place in a jar on it’s side, snails take the bait and die off)
More ways to secure a wonderful thriving Bee friendly yard-
Embrace the WEEDS! You know, guys you know I love my weeds. I pull some, the big stickers but I leave a ton others that mae cute little flowers and aren’t really harmful to other plants. I’ve even talked to you all about how some weeds are amazing in the garden- those lovely dandelions- they do not harm any near by plant or vegetable infact they recycle your dirty and HELP the nearby plants. Not only are they beneficial to the soil, your plants, but they can be eaten AND they bring in bees by the dozen! Embrace those wonderful sunshine looking weeds when you can!
You can also invite beneficial insects into the garden, ladybugs, praying mantis are the top ones to have around. Again, you can head on to the local nursery and they can supply you if you can’t seem to get them thriving in the yard.
Provide a great habitat for Bees! One of the things most people don’t really think about is planting any plant they see and like because it looks pretty. While yes it boosts the look of the yard and garden, the best thing you can do- is plant native plants. Planting native isn’t just helpful to bees but could save you a headache later on. Local bees are already adapted to the plant, and if you are in a drought area like myself native plants are used to the conditions. If I planted something from the east coast that wasn’t used to this weather I’d be fighting to keep it healthy, possibly using more water, or trying to change the soil in which native plants aren’t used to. It’s a hassle either way, plant local it’ll work out better in the end! Try to plant some flowers throughout the yard, even if you don’t have much room take up some containers- great for small spaces! Try to pick plants that have a long season, and then pick a few that would blossom in between those. I like planting zinnias, California poppies and cosmos, they self seed, long growing season and beautiful flowers. Marigolds are another helpful flower to have around. Herbs even, what better way to spruce the yard and garden up with something you can not only look at, but eat and keep those bees buzzing around? I plant cosmos between my vegetables, before the vegetables start blooming the bees are buzzing and ready to attack the nearly blossoming squash, it’s a surefire way to ensure a great harvest season.
Another great way to provide a place for bees is a bee habitat! I was provided a wonderful bamboo bee house! It’s a great way to invite bees to take up home in the area. You can find many in your local nursery that are just like this!
What else can you do to take a stand and BEE-Helpful?
When you head to the store, buy organic, local products. Get to know your farmer, ask them questions, see their stance on the pesticides and ask questions! Learn from the source! Talk to the grocery store, see if they sell products that are free of neonics, and if they don’t, ask why not? The widespread use of these pesticides is not just wrong it’s not acceptable in anyway. Toxic, doesn’t just wash away, it sticks around and seep through more than the bee population, soil, water systems- Drink from the tap today?
Head to Earth EQ, Friends of the Earth, has a few ways you can take a further stand on taking down and drowning out all uses of neonics . You can make a call to White House, donate- when you donate $50 or more you get your own Bamboo bee house! Share your own stories of #BeeBold, learn some more cool stuff on how you can be a friend to the hardest worker on earth- The bees of course! Buy a Bee Kit,
Our food supply is at stake here, it’s time we all took a huge step forward and got together to end this use of neonics everywhere! Learn more, do more! BEEBOLD!