Over the last few years, honey bee populations have been shrinking to dangerously low levels.
The sudden die-off of honey bees, often referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder, is a serious threat not just to bees, but to crop production. Bee pollination is responsible for at least one-third of America’s diet. Crops that rely heavily on bee pollination include almonds, apples, blueberries, melons, plums, avocados, cucumbers, pears, cranberries, cherries, kiwis, cauliflower, carrots, onions, celery, sunflowers, and more.
It’s not completely clear what’s responsible for the widespread death of these bees, but many factors seem to have played a role, including the prevalence of pesticide use and genetically modified plants, climate change, and an epidemic of infestation by the varroa destructor, a type of parasitic mite that sucks out bees’ internal fluids, like a vampire.
The Sierra Club has created an online pledge, asking those who are concerned about bees to take a few very simple steps to help these vitally important insects.
1. Plant bee friendly plants in your garden (single flowering plants, vetetables and herbs).
2. Buy local honey.
3. Do not leave foreign honey outside. (It can contain bacteria that can harm local honey bees).
4. Leave clover and dandelions in your yard, they are a haven for bees.
Other steps you might consider are avoiding genetically modified flowers and produce in your garden, not using chemical pesticides, and choosing organic, non-GMO produce.
If you have a Facebook account, please consider adding your pledge and spreading the word on how we can help save the honey bees before it’s too late!