One of the greatest problems that US is currently facing is the decreasing population of honey bees…yes, honey bees. Right now, you’re probably thinking, “Well, how should that be a concern?” all the while remembering the time when you were a kid and got stung by a bee at a local park. I promise, they are not devils. Honey bees are actually of great importance to agriculture, and they are the reason why your parents are able to go to the grocery store and put food on the table. They are essential in the first steps of agriculture as “they pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90% of most of the world’s food.” These food include almonds, strawberries, apples, and alfalfa to feed dairy cows, and so much more. Now, imagine this all gone, because it well could be.
Bee keepers have reported of losing about 30% of their honey bees each winter. There are several things that could be the cause of this, such as global warming, habitat loss, and parasites. But the most alarming one is bee-killing insecticides known as neonics. Neonics are very detrimental to crops and plants, which is bad news for us, but more for the bees as it is 6,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT, a chemical found in most insecticides. What adds to this problem is that big agrichemical companies are pushing to increase the quantities of these pesticides as much as 400 times the regular standards. Luckily, some governments have rejected these proposals, but in order for the population of these honey bees to restore, the EPA must step in. A great way to help forward this movement is by calling on the EPA to declare a temporary prohibition of neonics.
Another way to help the bees is plant forage for them. Clean forage free of insecticides. Forage includes all sorts of flowering trees and plants. Below is a map from the xerces society which lists the plants bees love in your area!
Pollinator Conservation Resources – US & Canada
Clicking on the map will take you to the Pollinator Conservation Resource Center, where you can find regional information about plant lists, habitat conservation guides, and more.
To access national resources including plant lists, conservation guides and factsheets, information on native bee nests, pesticides, bee identification and policy documents such as the US federal pollinator strategy, visit the US & Canada Pollinator Conservation Resources page.