As a beekeeper, I am asked many of the same questions regularly, “So are you suffering from Colony Collapse?” “What’s happening to the bees?” “Are they going to make it?” I would say that these are up there with the fan favorite, “How many times do you get stung?”
The general public is concerned, and that’s a good thing. Because yes, bees are in peril, and it’s important that we say “bees”, all bees, and just as importantly, All pollinators are in peril. Bumble bees, mason bees, monarchs, moths, bats, birds. ALL of them. You see, the same things that are hurting the honey bee population are affecting other pollinators as well, and all pollinators play a vital role in our food supply and delicate ecosystem.
So while I am partial to my honeybees, as those ladies help me keep my lights on, I want to encourage everyone to do their part in helping these invaluable animals. But what does that mean? Dear reader, go out and immediately buy some bees and assorted beekeeping paraphernalia, including a “Bees are #1!” foam finger. Of course, I am kidding. Put your Visa down, back into your wallet. That’s it. I know that the allure of donning your very own veil and smoker is enticing, but there’s no need.
You can serve the vital role of saving the honeybee and all pollinators, here is how:
Educate. You’re an intelligent individual who is now aware of the situation of these critters. Go and spread the word. Tell your friends, neighbors, random public transportation seat sitters. Here’s a tip- start with a no-brainer, a softball if you will, “You like food?” I will bet that you will hear not a singular “no”. Once the two of you are on the same page, “Me too! I love food!” slip in the pitch, “Ya know where that food came from?” “Whole Foods? Sure. A farmer? Yes. But it was made possible because (most likely) a pollinator visited that plants’ flower and pollinated it.” Now stand back and watch their mind be blown away. It is estimated that a 1/3 of all of our food comes from pollinators, and with this simple but important fact you can help convey the value of these creatures.
If you wish to keep bees or build bat houses, or even plant a native garden, that is fantastic and I encourage you to do so. But it all comes down to outreach and telling the rest of the general public about the dire situation that we as a species are in. We rely on these critters more than most realize, and without them our future is uncertain.