By Maiclinn Waller
It is typical for people to feel afraid when they see a bee. However, the well-known, stinging insects are a huge part of the Earth’s agricultural community and arguably one of the most essential factors in keeping grocery stores stocked.
Bees are the primary group of natural pollinators that regularly visit farmers’ crops. Approximately one-third of all of the world’s crops depend on bees, who visit the flowers of the crops, passing pollen from plant to plant and allowing them to reproduce. This initiates the production of not only fruit, but also plants like alfalfa, which are used to feed livestock.
The pollination of these crops is essential, but bees as a species are becoming less and less frequent. They are slowly but surely going extinct as a result from widespread use of toxic pesticides, which kill the bees. Along with the pesticides, parasites known as Varroa Mites infiltrate hives, sucking the blood of the bees and inevitably killing them.
Without these fuzzy little creatures, experts worry that farmers will not be able to produce nearly as many crops as they are able to currently. This would be disastrous, as the crops’ production affects all of humanity’s food sources.
So, what can be done about this problem? The most obvious answer would be to start a hive of your own, but if you lack the resources, there are still other, easier ways to help.
Planting nectar-rich flowers can help encourage bees to visit, but make sure to avoid harmful pesticides that might hurt them. If you do not have any space for plants, you can still help!
Support local beekeepers by buying local honey and beeswax products. Not only does this help the beekeepers, but local honey can also help prevent and lessen seasonal allergies, making it a win-win situation.
You can also become what is known as a “bee ambassador” and help raise funds to save the bees. Regardless of your situation, there are endless ways to help alleviate this crisis.