They may be little but the humble bumble bee is perhaps the most important creature on the planet. They play a pivotal role in sustaining our delicate ecosystem. Unfortunately, bee populations are in decline the world over. Climate change, habitat loss, and the use of pesticides are just some of the few major threats to them. This is alarming because bees' responsibilities go way beyond honey production and pollinating beautiful flowers.
Bees put food on our plates
Bees pollinate billions of plants every year which is especially important to agricultural crops. In fact, one-third of our daily diets depend on bees. Here are just a small portion of the foods pollinated, in part or entirely, by bees:
They provide for the animal kingdom too
Of course, it’s not only us humans who need to eat to survive! The work that bees do also provides food sources for other wild animals. Their honey and bee larvae are sweet treats for other insects, birds, raccoons, and opossums. In the circle of life, bees also make up a part of the food chain for more than 24 species of birds as well as other larger insects.
Bees maintain biodiversity
Bees contribute so much to help with the growth of numerous plants, flora, and fauna -- while these trees and flowers provide food and shelter for many creatures large and small.
But they are disappearing…
The bee population has been in a steady decline around the world since the 1990s. The rise of the industrial agriculture that uses toxic pesticides, increased number of parasites, and climate change have been blamed for the dramatic fall of their population.
What can we do?
There are a few significant things we can do to help care for our furry winged friends. Supporting ecological farming by buying local organic food is an excellent start, while the creation of a bee-friendly garden is considered the best way to do our share.
Avoid pesticides in your garden
The use of pesticides can upset the soil's natural content, killing off beneficial microbes and insects -- including our friend bees. You can still maintain and healthy and happy garden even without the use of chemical pesticides. There are many homemade natural pesticides which won’t poison other plants, animals, or your family.
Plant bee-friendly organic flowers
A garden full of pollen and nectar-rich plants are some of the great ways to provide for bees. They are drawn to a wide variety of flowering plants making it easy for them to create a beautiful, colorful, and sweet-scented garden that will feed the bees.
Give bees shelter and water
Bees are busy little critters, so they need a safe place to nest and shelter as they go about their business. Bamboo sticks or wooden logs with a few holes drilled in them make excellent rest stops. Small bird baths not only add character to your yard but also provide a fresh water source for thirsty bees. Put a few stones in the water to act as a platform for landing bees.
Help tired bees
You'll be likely to see a bee sitting on the ground on days when the weather is hot. Just like any hard-worker, bees get exhausted too and would need a hand to continue. If you see a lone bee struggling to move, give him a little mixture of sugar and water on a spoon and place it next to the bee.
With a few easy steps, you can help out our buzzing, bumbling bees as they go about their important business!