Did you know one-third of what we eat would not be possible without the pollination work of honeybees? Honeybees and humans share similar tastes in food, smell and color-attraction. But for the last few years, bee colonies worldwide have been dying out. This may be because pests that attack honeybees become stronger with each wave of pesticide used against them. Making matters worse, every winter California almond growers import hundreds of thousands of bees to mass-pollinate their barren trees. In gross violation of natural order, honeybees are force-fed corn-syrup in order to be woken up.
Here are 7 things you can do to help honeybees:
1. Buy local honey
This helps local beekeepers cover the costs of beekeeping. Their bees are not mistreated to give their honey a longer shelf life. The flavor will reflect local flora.
2. Make sure you are buying organic almond products
3. Plant bee-friendly plants
Single-flowering plants and vegetables, plants in the allium family, mints, beans, flowering herbs, daisy-shaped flowers, asters, sunflowers, hollyhocks, larkspur, foxgloves, willows, and lime trees will help local bees keep a strong balanced diet.
4. Ask local officials to support funding for the bee-health research campaign
5. Make space for a beehive in your garden
If you have a safe spot and would like to host a bee colony, contact your local beekeeping association. They can put you in touch with a beekeeper in need of a site. Your garden crops will grow dazzlingly!
6. Help protect swarms
If you see a swarm, do not contact an exterminator or spray water. Swarms are made up of mostly gentle bees. They will not sting unless they feel provoked. Do not flap your hands at them or approach them wearing floral scents or dark clothing. To locate a beekeeper to come collect the swarm, contact your local authority or the police.
7. Become a beekeeper
Contact your local beekeeping association for a course and for help finding the equipment you will need.
Adapted suggestions from Dr. Ivor Davis, president of the British Beekeepers’ Association; Guardian News and Media Limited, 2011.