Hello friends and happy Friyay!!! Whoo-hoo we made it (why is it that short work weeks sometimes feel the longest?)! This week has been absolutely nuts for me, but equally awesome! I got to participate in a letter writing campaign for Planned Parenthood, a tree planting with Keep Austin Beautiful, and I got to do some awesome environmental grant research for the National Wildlife Federation. Plus we have so many exciting things happening right here at Something Swell Media, but we will get to those later (seeecretsss *insert winky face emoji here*). Anyways, today we are talking about our weekly Change One Thing post, and this week is all about the bees.
You might just think of honeybees as the annoying little things that pester you in the park, but honeybees play an essential role in our food chain. bee pollination plays an essential role in our entire agricultural ecosystem. Seventy of the world’s top 100 crop species are pollinated by bees – and those foods feed 90 percent of mankind. Just imagine not being able to enjoy things we eat every day, like coffee, teas, apples and other fruits. Without a large, healthy bee population, most foods we rely on would disappear. So why is this happening?
Not surprisingly, the widespread use of pesticides like Neonicotinoids has taken a serious toll on our nation’s bee populations. In 2015, American beekeepers lost 42% of their honeybee colonies. That’s up almost 8 percentage points from 2014’s bee loss tally. The US Department of Agriculture says that any loss rate of above 19% is unsustainable, so by that measure we are royally screwed (not to be a buzzkill…get it? BUZZ-kill….OK I’ll stop now).
What Can You Do?:
There are a ton of little, easy things you can do to help out bee populations right in your own home! Bee’s desperately need your help, and with just a few small changes you can really make a big difference. Here are some of the best things that you can to save the bees:
- Plant bee friendly plants in your yard. Bees are losing a lot of their habitat to farming as well and this gives them a place to eat and pollinate. We are currently re-doing our yard (the previous owner’s had grass, not exactly drought friendly) and we are planting lavender, sage, rosemary and verbena. And remember, these plants are not of any benefit if you treat them with harmful chemicals! Go au natural here.
- Bees are thirsty little buggers. Put out a basin of water (like a bird bath) in a shady area in your front yard.
- Sign a petition to ban Imidacloprid, one of the terrifying chemicals that threaten bee populations.
- Buy local, organic produce from your Farmer’s Market. Buying local means eating seasonally as well, and buying local means that you know where that food is coming from, and you can ask the farmer’s directly about their pesticide usage.
- Don’t use chemicals to treat your lawn, or better yet, if you live in a hot climate try xeriscaping. We are totally xeriscaping our front AND backyard. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that utilizes native, drought-resistant plants, and no grass. This is amazing for your water usage (it saves almost 2,500 gallons of water a day!) and it also helps our the bees by keeping them away from the chemicals in fertilizers.