Save The Bees!
Create a more bee-autiful home and garden.
A colorful landscape of beautiful flowers feeds the soul in so many ways. They bring joy to our lives and to those we share our gardens with. The simple act of planting a flower is a sign of hope and results in the miracle that is nature. However, there are times in life we take the simplest of natural phenomena for granted.
Take for example the case of the busy bee. Bees move pollen from flower to flower so vegetables and fruits can grow and develop. As a bee visits a flower or blossom, their fuzzy bodies and hairy legs attract the flower's pollen. Upon visiting the next flower, the pollen grains rub off the bee's legs onto that flower's stigma. That's when fertilization of the plant takes place. As a result, our gardens fill with vegetables and our fruit trees bear crops. Nothing happens in the vegetable garden without pollination. Commercial growers actually import bees to pollinate their crops.
However, bee populations have been mysteriously disappearing. In the U.S., the situation is critical, with the phenomenon - dubbed "colony collapse disorder" (CCD) - eliminating anywhere between 30 and 70 percent of all bee-hives. According to many scientists, the collapse of bee colonies is due to a complex set of factors: the use of pesticides and insecticides, the emergence of a destructive mite which helps spread a deadly virus, a changing climate, the reliance on monocultures and a general lack of biodiversity. Tackling this crisis is crucial, because bees pollinate a whole range of crops - from oranges to soy beans - which provide 30% of all our food.
Albert Einstein: "if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
The good news is that there are things you can do to help offset this problem. You can start by planting bee-friendly plants; it is important for modern gardeners to ensure there are plenty of food-producing flowers to attract bees. Too few bees in our gardens, means that plants have a far smaller chance of being pollinated. A good way to attract bees is to plant colorful flowers in groups and plant sweet-smelling herbs such as basil among your vegetable crops. The bee-friendly plants they suggest are: lavender, glory bushes, jasmine, rosemary, coreopsis, violets, thyme, wisteria, bluebells, trumpet vine, sunflowers, cosmos and cone flowers. Believe it or not, bees are so useful in a garden, that wise gardeners leave some "natural flowers," like milkweed and white clover, because of the weeds' very bee-friendly qualities.
Next replace the use of pesticides and insecticides with a safer soap. Approved for organic use, Insecticidal Soap is made from naturally occurring plant oils and animal fats. Safe soaps can be used indoors or outdoors to kill aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. It can be used up to the day of harvest and does not kill beneficial insects such as ladybugs, praying mantis and others.
Another way to help is to donate to universities that are doing research on Colony Collapse Disorder; support beekeepers; and tell your friends.