The Agricultural Alphabet Starts with Bee

The Agricultural Alphabet Starts with Bee ~ I’m someone who truly appreciates nature, including, and probably most importantly, the wondrous bounty of fruits, vegetables, and flowers it provides us with each year.

My sensibilities as a cook are always greatly heightened with the arrival of each year’s new crop and the anticipation of using fruits and vegetables literally bursting with flavour and freshness.

Bee

Photo credit: Florian Martys via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let’s face it though, produce does lose a great deal of goodness the longer it is in storage.

And then there are flowers! As someone from a northern climate with a limited growing season, flowers are definitely seasonal and definitely appreciated.

I have always taken this annual replenishment of plants, vegetables, and fruits, well, if not for granted then at least something very close to that description.

So, a recent news item I read really made me sit up and take notice.

The story was about bees.

Now I, like most of you, have heard and read about bee populations being under stress but I never realized the situation was as critical as it is.

More than seven hundred North American bee species are in decline and nearly twenty-five percent of these are in serious danger of extinction.

Realizing the tremendous role that bees play in the agricultural world, my first thought was, is this the canary in the coal mine scenario playing out in real-time, our time?

My second thought was, why is this happening and why at such an alarming rate?

Studies have shown that habitat loss, the increasing use of pesticides, climate change, and increasing urbanization are the main causes of this decline.

Why should we care and what can we, as individuals, do about it?

Bee

Infographic credit: Bees Matter Learning Centre

Almost ninety percent of wild plants are pollinated by insects, mostly bees. This service has an estimated value of over three billion dollars per year in North America alone. This figure does not include the billions of dollars more in actual crop values affected by this decline in the bee population.

Things we, on an individual basis, can do to help reverse or at least slow down the bee decline trend:

 

  • Eliminate or at least severely reduce the amount of pesticides used around the home.
  • Plant flower gardens, preferably using native plants. Cluster these, as opposed to single plantings to better attract pollinators.
  • Provide nesting sites. Different pollinators have different needs but information is readily available on the internet.

Photo credit: Nigel Jones via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

  • Lobby governments at all levels, to institute or enhance policies to continue the fight against the use of carbons, the elimination of pesticides, and increasing the amount of natural vegetation on public lands.

This problem did not occur overnight and it will take a long and dedicated effort and changes in practices and policies to correct it.

Let’s give Mother Nature the break she deserves and all do our part to fix this problem before it really is too late.

 

Comments

  1. I agree the bees are so vitally important to our very existance. It’s important to keeps the bees as close as possible and let them be bees and so their workk effectively.

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