Shocking

Bees: How And Why We Should Keep Them Safe

by Laura Caseley
Laura is a writer, illustrator, and artist living in New York City.

Spring is well on its way, and that means blooming flowers are appearing just about anywhere.

And their bright colors and sweet scents don’t just attract us. They also capture the attention of a little bug you’re probably familiar with: the bee.

There are actually many species of bees, but with their fuzzy bodies, yellow stripes, and trademark buzz, they’re easy to spot.

At least, they were.

Studies the world over have shown that due to widespread pesticide use, habitat destruction, climate change, and pollution, bees are disappearing, their hives and colonies rapidly diminishing. And that’s a major problem, not just for the planet and other animals, but for humans, too.

That’s because bees are a major reason why we have the amount of food we do.

If it seems like a tiny insect can’t possibly have that much of an impact, think again. Bees are seriously busy, and without them, we would be unable to successfully grow the food we need to feed our massive population.

Luckily, people are taking action to make the world a little friendlier for our fuzzy friends, from fighting for pesticide regulations to starting bee-friendly businesses, like Mikaila Ulmer did when she was only 4 years old!

And the good news is that you can help, too! Read on to see how you can help these remarkable animals and make the world a little better.

Where Are The Bees?

Where Are The Bees?
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You may have noticed that fewer bees seem to be buzzing by lately. And that’s because there are fewer bees.

Studies have shown that bee colonies the world over are being wiped out by the constant pesticide use on industrial farms.

Not only that, but years of this pesticide use has embedded the pesticide’s harmful chemicals deep into the soil, too.

In the U.S. alone, honeybee populations have declined by half, with some areas reporting even higher losses.

And it’s not just bees. Butterflies are disappearing, too.

Why Should We Care?
Bee Benefit #1: They Maintain Earth

<u>Why Should We Care?</u><br>Bee Benefit #1: They Maintain Earth
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So, what’s the big deal? After all, bees sting, right? Ouch!

Well, hold on a minute and consider this: bees, along with other animal pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds, pollinate about a sixth of all the flowering plants on the planet, as well as 400 different types of agricultural plants that we eat and use every day.

So they’re hugely responsible for maintaining the ecosystems that keep our planet — and us — healthy.

Bee Benefit #2: They Support Our Economy

Bee Benefit #2: They Support Our Economy
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Providing food is kind of a big deal, but bees actually do even more than that to affect our everyday lives.

Pollinating crops means making money for food producers, which in turn means more money in the economy.

Don’t believe bees have economic impact?

Consider this: in 2010, bees were determined to be responsible for $19 billion worth of agricultural crops in the U.S., or a third of what we consume.

Bee Benefit #3: They Feed Us

Bee Benefit #3: They Feed Us
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Because bees shoulder so much of the pollination duties of our food, their absence means less food for us.

Some of the first foods to disappear would be cherries, watermelons, blueberries, pumpkins, and apples.

So if you enjoy any of those foods and their health benefits, thank your local bees. And don’t forget honey!

Bee Benefit #4: They Preserve Wildlife

Bee Benefit #4: They Preserve Wildlife
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Not only do bees help create food for humans, they also do a large part in creating food and habitats for plenty of other creatures.

By pollinating other flowers and plants, they contribute to the biodiversity that makes for a healthy environment, as well as a beautiful one.

How Can You Help The Bees?
Bee Tip #1: Support Local Farmers Who Don't Use A Lot Of Pesticides

<u>How Can You Help The Bees?</u><br>Bee Tip #1: Support Local Farmers Who Don't Use A Lot Of Pesticides
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Since pesticides are one of the main causes of hive declines, the best way to combat this is with your money.

Supporting local farmers and food producers is a great way to do this, and to help your local economy, too!

You’ll get fresh, quality foods from your neighbors, and you’ll be helping the planet.

Bee Tip #2: Buy Local Honey

Bee Tip #2: Buy Local Honey
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Honey is of course the product bees are most known for. It’s sweet and delicious, and also has a number of health benefits for humans. If you like honey, try to get it from local beekeepers. Their bees will be pollinating local plants and boosting your local ecosystem.

Bee Tip #3: Don't Be Afraid Of Bees

Bee Tip #3: Don't Be Afraid Of Bees
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Yes, bees sting (at least, some species), but they’re not out to get you. Bees won’t just attack humans unless they feel very threatened, as stinging can actually kill the bee. It’s a last resort!

To avoid any unpleasant encounters, remain calm and move slowly if a bee happens by. If they really give you the willies, calmly move to another area. If you’re eating outside, cover any sweet foods that might attract them. Bees also don’t like smoke, so lighting a candle will keep them at bay, too.

Bee Tip #4: Give Bees A Home

Bee Tip #4: Give Bees A Home
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Just like a birdhouse, a bee house is a great addition to a garden. These pre-built houses provide shelter for bees and make it easier for them to get out and pollinate your and your neighbors’ gardens. And they’re pretty fun to watch!

Bee Tip #5: Plant A Garden

Bee Tip #5: Plant A Garden
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Bees are attracted to certain plants, and by filling your garden with them, you’ll be encouraging bees to gather and pollinate.

Flowers that are popular among bees and humans are sunflowers, hollyhocks, zinnias, crocus, geraniums, and buttercups. Fennel, thyme, lavender, and sage are also bees’ favorites.

So now that you know how important these fuzzy little fliers are, you can do your part in making sure the world remains a safe and healthy place for them — and for you!

And be sure to SHARE these important tips with your friends!