Imagine a world without most fruits and vegetables. No apples, apricots, mangoes, watermelon, tangerines, coconuts, cocoa, vanilla, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, limes, lemons, grapes, cherries, carrots, avocados, cashews, peaches, or plums. Can you imagine that? And that’s only a few! Believe it or not, one in every three bites we take is thanks to bees. When you think about it that way, it is hard to believe that we are actually rapidly killing many species of bees, including honey bees, bumble bees, and native bees. Bumble bees were recently added to the U.S. endangered list. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the population of bumble bees has declined by almost 90% since the late 1990’s. That is a lot! If we lose bees, we lose many important crops.
So how have they become endangered? Strong pesticides that people use on their crops hurt the bees by making them sick and weakening their immune systems. This leaves bees open to other illnesses and parasites. For this reason, many bees are now sick. Another reason for the bee population decline is habitat loss. We are cutting down or killing off large areas of meadow that the bees need to use for food! Because of these reasons, many bee colonies are dying. The New York Bee Sanctuary tells us that 40% of bee colonies died off just in 2015!
Luckily, there are many things we can do to help the bees. They are not that hard, and anyone can do them. One thing is to plant flowers for the bees. This way, there will be more places for bees to live and more food for them. When you are planting seeds, be sure not to buy ones that have been pesticide-treated. Those can make bees sick. Also, don’t use pesticides on your lawn, as this can hurt bees too. One more thing that we can do for the bees is to buy honey from local and organic honey farms. We can help bees in many small ways. If we all work together and help save the bees, eventually the pollinators’ population will grow back. The bees need your help. Will you help them?
Info: “List of Foods We Will Lose if We Don’t Save the Bees.” Honey Love, 15 Aug. 2013, honeylove.org/list-of-food/. Accessed 13 Apr. 2017.
“Why Are Bees in Trouble?” Save Bees, Enlightened Bugs, 2017, savebees.org/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2017.
Photos: Bees. Honey Love, HoneyLove, honeylove.org/bees/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2017.
Bee. Save Bees, Enlightened Bugs, 2017, savebees.org/. Accessed 19 Apr. 2017.