Saturday, July 2, 2011

I Heart Bees

Yep. Bees.

That's all. What? Yes, bees! It's not enough to just love bees because they're awesome? There has to be some reason I'm writing this blog other than the fact that I just love them? Oh, you want an explanation? Ok, fine, I'll give you an explanation:

Let's start with facts, shall we?

1. The U.S Forest Service Website (fs.fed.us) states that "bees, beetles, and butterflies POLLINATE our gardens and crops, making possible such foods as chocolate, nuts, and most fruits."

2. "Almost 80% of the 1,400 crop plants grown around the world that produce all of our food and plant-based industrial products require pollination by animals." (fs.fed.us)

3. Flowering plants provide oxygen, and help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (fs.fed.us). No pollination, no flowering plants, no oxygen. 

4. "Today 1,000 of the 1,330 plants grown for food, beverages, fibers, condiments, [spices], and medicines depend on pollinators to help them reproduce and develop healthy, viable seeds and fruits" (fs.fed.us).

5. More than 150 food crops in the U.S. depend on pollinators, including almost all fruit and grain crops (fs.fed.us).


Should I keep going? Fine!

6. "The abundance of four common species of bumblebee in the US has dropped by 96% in just the past few decades, according to the most comprehensive national census of the insects." (guardian.co.uk)

7. "Factors which could contribute to declines include: improper use of pesticides and herbicides; habitat fragmentation, loss, and degradation causing a reduction of food sources and sites for mating, nesting, roosting, and migration; aggressive competition from non-native species; disease, predators, and parasites; climate change; and lack of floral diversity." (pollinator.org)

8. "The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about one-third of the human diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants and that the honey bee is responsible for 80 percent of this pollination." (ebeehoney.com)

9. When two different species coexist in a mutually beneficial way (such as plants providing fruits that give animals vitamins in exchange for an animal brushing up against it, gathering pollen, and transferring it to another plant to fertilize), this is called mutualism. This harmonized relationship has existed for centuries, and is one we should be nurturing.

10. Honey helps burns heal faster, helps suppress a cough from that cold that just won't go away, local honey has been proven to help with local allergies, and "Manuka honey is surprisingly adept at killing the [Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus] bug." (health.usnews.com)

So why am I pointing them out? Because they aren't doing so hot. Several of the factors listed in 7. are causing bees to die out in rapid fashion. This is bad news Bears. Can you imaging what would happen to the U.S. food crops without a strong pollinator like bees? What about the Staph bug running amok in major cities? Not. Cool.

I love them. And you should too if you know what's good for ya. Whether it's related to our food supply, fighting disease, or just plain enjoying the honey they produce, bees are as important to our ecosystem as oxygen.



So the next time you decide to spray Raid into the nearest hive or call a pest control specialist, contact your local beekeeper and ask whether or not these bees are essential to our ecosystem.

Charlie Wenk and Clyde Eggett are local beekeepers in the Chicago suburbs. Charlie harvests honey from his back yard and from several locations in the suburbs, and knows a thing or two about the benefits of bees. He is friends with my parents and has told them whenever they need help with bees he'd come out and give it a gander. Get yourself a Charlie or a Clyde to help you figure out whether or not your little buzzer buddies are friends or foes before you decide to run them out.

For more about Charlie and Clyde, check out this article from mysuburbanlife.com.
Check out this list of beekeepers in Illinois: Illinois beekeepers

Or if you REALLY want to make a difference:
Get acquainted with the folks over at 2 Let It Bee, the Honey Bee Revitalization Project. This has got to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen. If you have extra land that you're not doing much with, contact these guys. They will use your land to play host to some honey bees. It's a small way to help do your part in revitalizing the worrisome drop of the bee population.

SAVE THE BEES!!

"Sensitive to Bees" - Marzipan

Thanks to lightmsgs.files.wordpress.com and townipproject09.wikispaces.com for the bee pictures! Thanks to acreagelife.com for the walnut photo. Thanks to lifetimefitness.mylt.com for the spice shot. Thanks to whataretheywaitingfor.com for the burning earth picture. And thanks to honeylocator.com for the gorgeous honey shot! Grazie mille!

6 comments:

  1. you forgot this as a reason for their decline:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090826110118.htm
    http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2009/08/20/the-bee-problem-is-hfcs-to-blame/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ahh yes, good to know. Thanks Chris!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Owwww Bees! I just want to live in peaceful coexistence and not have them invade my personal space! Nothing makes a funnier image than me running from bees! But, I am going to try your honey remedy for allergies! Hoping it will work.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It has to be local honey to help with the local allergies. A good place to try would be Sonny Acres farm, they sell local honey. Thanks for the comment!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello,
    My name is Nicole Vick. The Head of Marketing and Web development for 2 Let It Bee. On behalf of myself, I love what you did. It almost brought me to tears :) Nice to see new supporters to our team every day, but you actually are broadcasting it! I am very impressed.
    Have you ever done beekeeping yourself? If you every have any questions please don't hesitate to ask!
    Just so you know we also have the Adopt-A-Hive program. This is for those who do not have land to donate but would like to adopt a hive. You get free honey and wax from your adopted hive after the first year is complete and the hive is established and healthy. You pay an adoption fee and a once a year fee for their food supply.

    Thank you again! We love the support! How would you like us to publish your site on our supported links page?

    Nicole Vick
    Head of Marketing and Web Development
    n.vick89@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Nicole! I'll be sending you an e-mail shortly!

    ReplyDelete