In Sioux City, Iowa, last month, vandals knocked over hives at Wild Hill Honey, killing 500,000 bees. Bees lay dead in the snow, and it was enough damage to kill their business, as insurance companies don’t insure hives. While no arrests have yet been reported, locals quickly took to social media and helped raise enough money to keep this bee company in business, at least for the next year.
This story made me think about the bees and the efforts many people are making to save them. The honeybee crisis is now well-known. We all realize that keeping bees alive and thriving is important for our eco-system, but knowing how to help can be the challenge. We can’t all raise bees and care for them, but surely there are some things we can do to help protect them. During the warmer months, there seem to be a number of things we can do to help keep bees safe. But what are we supposed to do when winter is here?
- Beekeepers should leave the honey. Bees need that honey to survive the winter so harvesting should wait until warmer weather.
- Skip the pesticides. It’s oh-so-easy to use pesticides on our gardens and lawns, but doing so is lethal to the bees we’re trying to protect. Try instead some natural remedies for treating a pest problem.
- Start planning a Spring garden with bee-friendly plants and even a water feature to help keep them hydrated. If we have a black thumb, we can still plan to get easy container plants to do a little to provide the bees with pollen.
- Donate to organizations that focus on saving bees. Facebook allows us to choose a charity to donate our birthdays to, and we can always select a bee-friendly organization.
- Be sure to purchase honey from local beekeepers who use sustainable practices rather than buying whatever the grocery store happens to be selling. This helps support our local beekeepers so that they can continue to do their work of saving our bees.
The bees are still in danger, and malicious acts like the ones in Iowa only make the situation worse. It would be easy to give up hope, but the local response to the disaster shows that kindness saves the day! Regular people stepped forward to help replace the hive and encourage the beekeepers to continue. When we all do our part, no matter how small, I believe we really can save the bees!