It's Pollinator week, a nationwide "holiday" where people all around the country raise awareness about dangers our pollinators are facing and what we can do to help! This week, Pure Solutions is participating in this awareness campaign. We will be posting consistently throughout the week on our Instagram and Facebook more facts about Pollinators and how they affect our environment.
Why are bees under threat?
Polluting and harmful human activities are two of the main causes to the decline of the bee population. So far, Bees have declined almost 89% in the United States and continue to decline close to extinction.
Harmful pesticides, that are combinations of toxic chemicals we can barely pronounce, lead to the death of our precious pollinators. These toxic chemicals can paralyze, and even rapidly kill the population of pollinators in any given area. Not only can it kill one pollinator, but if a bee brings back any sort of residue to their hive, that entire population is under harm if not completely eradicated.
Climate change is also another leading cause of the death of pollinators. A shift in typical weather patterns means it’s taking a turn to the more extreme. These extreme weather conditions can mean that heatwaves, hurricanes, and other powerful storms are on the rise. When a bee's habitat is destroyed by the extreme weather conditions, they won’t survive and thus will not be able to pollinate.
Habitat loss is also a reason for the loss of bees. When our forests, and natural ecosystems are destroyed to be replaced by urban development, and resource extraction our bees lose their homes and lose their ecosystems to pollinate. If there are no plants to cross pollinate, or a home for bees to live in, they will not be able to survive.
Diseases are also taking over populations of pollinators. The Varroa Mite is a mite that feeds off of the blood equivalent of bee larvae which later on results in lethal diseases such as Deformed Wing Virus.
Bees are crucial to the existence of our environment and our society. They are one of the core reasons why our ecosystems thrive and survive. Here are a few reasons why:
- Bees benefit the growth of vegetation through pollination. Sunshine and rainfall is not the only thing that allows vegetation to thrive. 30% of the world's crops and 90% of all plants depend on cross pollination to spread and grow. Along with that, Bees account for the flowering of 250,000 species of plants.
- Pollinators account for ⅓ of the world’s food production according to the Food Source Organization of the United Nations. That is a lot of food that depends on pollination to flourish. Losing bees means losing a chunk of our food supply, and thus reducing food security.
- Pollinators also account for ½ of the world’s oils, fibers and other raw materials that are essential to the survival of our economy.
- They promote biodiversity by providing food and shelter for other creatures in an ecosystem. This allows for the existence of complex interconnected ecosystems that reduce inbreeding and keep various environmental chains intact. The same way having mass groups of people with the same genetics compacted in one area is a threat to our society, animals and plants work that way too!
- Honey Bees can pollinate an average of 2,000 plants a day and account for $15 Billion of the US economy each year.
What Can You Do to Protect Our Bees?
- Go Organic! This is an important step in the right direction. Using toxic chemicals in everyday life, such as harmful pesticides and other at-home chemicals, can be detrimental to the pollinator population. These polluting chemicals can paralyze or completely eradicate any bee population in your backyard or surrounding area. Not only that, but they’re not healthy for humans either!
- Buy sustainably. Research! Research! Research! Supporting companies that prioritize the health of our environment will in turn protect our pollinators. Pollution is the main cause of climate change, which is one of the leading causes of decline in the bee population. Making sure the companies you support are local and eco-friendly is a crucial part in the protection of bees.
- Support Bee Keepers!! Bee keepers work hard to support, nurture, and care for bees in your local community. The easiest most efficient way to keep these beekeepers in business is by purchasing their products. Many beekeepers offer raw honey and other honey related products. Locally sourced honey (not mass produced by a manufacturer) is also seen to have other health-related benefits like improving seasonal allergy symptoms.
- Plant a Bee Garden! Bees need a sanctuary, and they need pollen. Having a section of your backyard dedicated to colorful wildflowers will attract bees and provide much needed pollen and nectar. These spaces don’t need to be large! Window boxes and other pots are more than enough for these bees to be satisfied!!
- Create a bee bath. Similar to bird baths, a bee bath is a nice stop for bees to get a refreshing drink. Having this area with shallow water (and some pebbles to further break the water surface) gives these bees a well-needed rest stop amidst their 2,000 plant-pollinating day.