save our bees
I know. They scare us. But did you know that our bees are endangered? Did you also know that bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat? That’s right, without bees, we wouldn’t have about one third of the agricultural crops that we have. That is about $131 billion that they could possibly be contributing to our economy annually.
Many of us have no idea how bees contribute to our agricultural crops but it is quite fascinating. Pollination is needed for plants to reproduce and many of these plants depend on bees to act as “pollinators”.
When a bee collects nectar and pollen from the flower of a plant, some pollen from the stamens (the male reproductive organ of the flower) sticks to the hairs of its body. When the bee moves onto the next flower, some of this pollen is rubbed off onto the stigma (the female reproductive organ of the flower). When this happens, fertilization is possible, and a fruit, carrying seeds, can develop.
Some plants that depend heavily on bees for pollination are okra, potato, onion, celery, star fruit, Brazil nut, beet, mustard, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, hot peppers, watermelon, tangerine, orange, grapefruit, coconut, coffee, and so so many more!
So why are our bees endangered? There has been a huge decline in the bee population and this decline continues at a frighteningly rapid rate. The most common potential cause is that the heavy use of pesticides in our country is killing them. So what can we do to help our bee population? Believe it or not, there’s a lot we can do! One, which most of us probably do already, is plant some herbs and wildflowers in our yards and gardens. This helps provide bees with forage as they are loosing habitat to our farming practices and destruction of native landscapes. Plants such as lilacs, lavender, mint, black-eyed Susan, verbena, bush sunflower, and passion flower are a few good varieties. You know that perennial garden you’ve been putting off? Well, now you have another reason to plant that beautiful garden 🙂