There Can Be No Earth Day Without Bees

If you didn’t know, you’re about to know.

The vast majority of wild plants (90%) and crops (75%) depend on pollination, which means that without these sweet little buzzers, things would be a lot less green, and our plates would be 1/3 emptier. It may seem like these little cuties are all over the place and as happy as can be, but the US National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates that honey bee hives, for example, declined by about 60% between 1947 and 2008. Much of this is due to loss of their ideal environments, and while there’s a lot of work to be done to build the population back up, we can all do our part to support these stripey superheroes.

  • If you have access to gardening space, plan for your planting to include native species that bees adore. Here in Illinois, that can look like Partridge Pea, Goldenrod, Coneflower, Wild Bergamot, Columbine, Milkweed, Hyssop, and more!
  • Limit or eliminate insecticides from your gardening practice. We know that these are often sold to protect fruits and veggies from pesky pests, but controlling contact with other insects is difficult and many bees (along with other beneficial and beloved buggies) either die from being poisoned or are sickened by small amounts of insecticides that they then unknowingly bring back home and spread to the rest of the hive.
  • Eat local fruits and veg that are grown without insecticides and/or are pollinated by bees–like, oh, I don’t know, the produce in your weekly Tomato Mountain box ;). Buy beeswax and honey from local beekeepers that work to keep hives thriving! Everything counts when it comes to making sure we keep our environment buzzing for years and years to come.