World, we’ve got a problem. And it may be in your neighbor’s garden shed.
Just recently, 25,000 bees dropped from the skies in a shopping center parking lot. (http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/25000-bumble-bees-found-dead-target-parking-lot.html) It’s the latest in a scary global trend. A common pesticide for crops and gardens is now a top suspect in what’s killing our bees. Called Neonicotinoids, it’s also threatening other mammals and a clean water supply.
The European Food Safety Authority already put a 2- year ban on this pesticide. In the US, it’s still widely used.
Neonicotinoids, are believed to be the main culprit of our dwindling bee populations.
Why is this important?
Einstein said, “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
Here’s why: Bees help pollinate flowers and vitally important crops such as nuts, vegetables and fruits. The noted decline in bee populations in North America over the past few years – a 31% decline in bee colonies over the 2012-2013 winter alone – could lead to a massive decline in our nation and world’s food supply chain.
Even pizzavores should know – all food starts with crops. Animals eat grains. The bee loss impact is estimated to be $40B in the US alone (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/08/declining-bee-populations-may-lead-to-significant-agricultural-losses-in-u-s.html)
What can we do to help?
You can take simple steps right at home to keep our shared environment more balanced, healthy and bee-friendly. The University of Minnesota suggests these four methods in helping sustain our bee population:
1. Plant bee flowers everywhere
2. Provide nesting habitats
3. Reduce or eliminate pesticide use
4. Support our efforts to keep bees healthy and on their own six feet
Many pesticides sold in your local Home Depot or Lowes contain harmful Neonicotinoids. As you start your summer gardening, avoid using any pesticides or insecticides that contain this ingredient.
- Try using alternative pesticide methods for your garden that are not harmful to the soil, water, bees and other critters hanging out in your yard.
- Handpicking, companion planting and crop rotation are only a few alternative methods to organically achieve a healthier garden, a healthier you and a healthier world.
For more information on bees and how you can lend a helping hand in protecting our bees, check out these websites:
Pollinator Partnership, a non-profit that defends bees and other pollinators and our ecosystems. (http://www.pollinator.org/)
Get the academic facts from the US government (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021065/)