Bee-ing Mindful of our Pollinators

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays food carnival. Click here to learn more about sustainable eating and living.

Anyone out there enjoy almonds? Almond butter? Do you like that almond butter on apples?

Do blueberries, peaches, avocados, pears, pumpkins, cherries, melons, soybean and sunflower products also contribute to part of your daily diet? If so, you have bees to thank.

Bees are responsible for pollinating the above plants, and are an unrecognized essential part of our agriculture industry. Without bees, not only would apples and almonds disappear from our grocery stores, but $15 billion dollars of agriculture crops would no longer be available — that’s 100 different varieties crops grown in the USA annually. Overall, honey bees are responsible for 1/3 of our food crop.

I don’t write about this to discourage you from being afraid of bees, or from swatting at them. I bring light to the benefit of the honey bee because there is a significant problem affecting bees which threatens our food supply and bees’ very existence.

Western beekeepers have lost more than 25 percent of their colonies over the last few winters, in what is being termed as “colony collapse disorder”, in which an entire colony leaves the hive and dies. Reports of CCD come from 35 states in the USA and several other countries in the last three years. Suspected causes range from pollution and chemical exposure to poor nutrition, viruses and cell phone signals.

We each can do a part to help honeybees survive. Planting bee-friendly species such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, jasmine, wisteria, sunflowers, violets and other bee-pollinating flowers will ensure adequate food sources for your local population and keep worldwide populations sustained.

Make a donation to UC Davis or Pennyslania State University to help them find a solution to Colony Collapse Disorder (Click here to donate).

Support your local beekeeper by purchasing their products at the farmer’s markets. Beeswax candles and local honey are natural, sustainable products that support your local economy and keep your local beekeeper in business.

Thanks to Anthropologie for the alert on the honey bee crisis.
Click on the links below to learn more:

Photo taken from flickr.com (user Autan) Click here for more of Autan’s work

Agnew, Singeli. “The Almond and the Bee.” San Francisco Chronicle October 14, 2007

“Bees Vanish, and Scientists Race for Reasons.” The New York Times Online.October 14, 2007.

“Disorder Caused 45% of Bee Losses.” The Daily Green Online. 14 June 2007.

Haagen-Daaz’s website for education and more: http://helpthehoneybees.com/

UC Davis Research Facility and Upcoming Garden Plans: http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/news/honeybeehavenwinner.html

Bee-friendly plants for your garden: http://www.ars.usda.gov/Research/docs.htm?docid=12052