By Eric Patno and Coleman Alderson
Weavers of Food Webs
“The bee collects nectar from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.” Saint Francis de Sales
Prevent Honey Bee Extinction
We invited Eric Patno, founder of NWHoneyBee.org,1)http://nwhoneybee.org to write an article about preserving bee habitat. Living in Washington state, Eric has gardened for over 36 years and has developed a keen connection with bees along with a passion to preserve them. Here’s his perspective.
Why Are Bees Important
One out of every three bites of food has been pollinated by a bee.
Wow!! Think of all the melons, vegetables, berries, nuts, herbs we use to flavor our foods that are all pollinated by our bees. Even our coffee beans which depends on commercial beekeepers for increased yields, cotton for clothing and another major part of our food chain, beef. Clover and Alfalfa depend on bees to reproduce which is the main food source for our beef. And not only beef but think of butter, cheese, yogurt, milk and ice cream. Many cosmetic companies use beeswax in their products, and one last thing I would like to add that’s my personal favorite: honey!
fact is, our honeybees are dying off at an alarming rate.
Why Are Bees Dying?
A nationwide survey found that beekeepers across the United States lost more than 40 percent of their honeybee colonies between April 2014 to April 2015. Reasons they are dying off has become termed under CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) which is a combination of problems such as malnutrition mostly caused by a lack of diversity or a variety of plants such as a colony being used to specifically pollinate a single commercial crop.
Save the Bees from Extinction
The extinction of the bee population and CCD has been linked to herbicide and pesticide use. Products from turf builders to weed killers can contain bee toxin carried from pollen grains such as from a dandelion which has sprouted long after the pesticide has been applied and carried back to the colony. One pesticide in particular which is now being banned in some countries and is being phased out in some stores here in the US is known as neonicotinoids.2)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonicotinoid Other factors include stress, toxins in the environment, disease, parasites and pathogens such as Nosema,3)http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/files/147621.pdf America foulbrood4)https://beeinformed.org/2011/05/26/whats-that-smell-american-foulbrood/ and varroa mites.5)https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef608
Another major cause is habitat loss. Wild colonies don’t have many safe places to live, if they find a suitable spot in an old shed or an old hollow tree by a home, chances are most people will view them as a threat and kill them. If they do find a home they must contend with the food and water sources not being contaminated by chemicals or pesticides.
We Have a Part to Play
We truly have a symbiotic relationship with our honey bees and other pollinators and we can all make a positive impact to help save them. I believe so strongly in how much of an impact they have on all of us that I have started a nonprofit dedicated to saving our honeybees through pesticide free habitat restoration.
I wanted to write this article to help reach more people out there and help spread more awareness of why we all need to act now and do our part to help save our honeybees. There are great articles and tips on what we can all do to help them out and ensure our future and most importantly our kid’s future here on this beautiful planet.
Also, have a look at the GardensAll article on pollinators 6)https://gardensall.com/attract-pollinators-butterflies-and-bees/
G. Coleman Alderson is an entrepreneur, land manager, investor, gardener, and author of the novel, Mountain Whispers: Days Without Sun. Coleman holds an MS from Penn State where his thesis centered on horticulture, park planning, design, and maintenance. He’s a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and a licensed building contractor for 27 years. “But nothing surpasses my 40 years of lessons from the field and garden. And in the garden, as in life, it’s always interesting because those lessons never end!” Coleman Alderson
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