Are you passionate about a healthy planet full of good food? Us too. And bees are key to keeping our food supplies plentiful! Bees pollinate more than 100 types of crops in the US, from the almonds in your granola to the berries in your favorite jam—even the grasses that feed dairy cows. But, last winter was a bleak season for bees. According to the latest survey data, US honey bee populations declined by 31%.
While some winter losses are to be expected (around 5–10% used to be the norm), this year’s numbers are part of a disturbing trend. Since 2006, when scientists and beekeepers began to notice mysterious bee die-offs, annual losses have hovered around 30%.
The causes are complex—a May 2013 federal report identified multiple factors, including parasites, disease, poor nutrition and pesticides—but the danger to our ecosystems is clear. The good news is, there are some simple steps you can take to help “bee the solution.”
- Go organic. By choosing organic food, you’re supporting farm practices that promote healthy ecosystems and prohibit toxic persistent pesticides.
- Mix it up. Plant bee-friendly flowers with different colors, shapes and bloom times. Visit our Floral Department or Garden Center for high-quality seeds and plants suited to your local climate. Ask for a bee-friendly list!
- Don’t spray it! Pesticides can impact bees’ learning and foraging skills. If you can, skip the pesticides all together.
- Bee a leader. Encourage your community to plant pollinator-friendly flowers at schools, parks, businesses and golf courses.
- Bee a smart shopper. Knowing the importance of honey bees to our food supply, some of our suppliers have made donations toward their preservation. Look for “Share the Buzz” signs throughout the store on products from brands that support this cause. Their donations go to the Xerces Society to help provide bee-friendly tools and education to our farmer partners. Insert Share the Buzz sign graphic from cumulus, to help shoppers identify the signs.
Looking for more ways to bee the solution? Check out our Share the Buzz action page.
How are you helping bees and other pollinators? Share your own tips in the comments section below.