Bee pollination is crucial: about one bite in three in the average diet is dependent, directly or indirectly, on honey bee pollination. But the busy bees have been in decline since the ’80s. While Colony Collapse Disorder, as the phenomenon is called, doesn’t yet have a recognizable cause, research is underway.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can give bees a chance.
Buy local, seasonal, organic products from farms in your area.
Teach your children about the benefits of bees and how to “bee” safe around them. (Stay calm when a bee lands on you. Don’t get in their way when they’re busy working—stay away from flowers and hives.)
Ditch the lawn, or at least part of it. It requires too much water and too many chemicals to look pristine. Plant a perennial garden instead; lilacs, mint, cosmos, sunflowers, honeysuckle, rosemary, lavender, and many others will please bees.
If you have space and are interested in beekeeping, contact your state agricultural extension for information about classes or beekeepers’ associations in your area.
Buy local honey from hives not treated chemically. The label should say “pure” or “raw.” (Don’t give honey to infants under one year of age.)
Provide a small bowl of clean water in your garden. Those hard-working bees get a big thirst.