We need to talk about bees. No, not the jerkface one that stung you in sixth grade, shush. Bee populations are in danger, and it’s going to set off a whole butterfly effect on the environment and our access to certain foods. In other words, when bees go byebye, they don’t go alone.
“Um, Johanna, why should I even care about bees? All I know about bees is that they like to sting sixth-graders, and that sucks. Bees are stupid.”
Bees are not stupid and this gives some reasons why you should respect them. Also, honey bees account for $15 billion dollars of crop values each year. AND, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 in 3 mouthfuls of our diet benefits from honey bee pollination. (I realize that “our diet” is a grossly general assumption, but we can agree that a whole bunch of us really love fruits and veggies, yes?). Still not convinced? Fine, read this.
Now that we’re on the same page about how much ass they kick, allow me to explain what’s up with the honey bees and why it’s currently not a good thing to be their knees.
Since 2006, beekeepers have been reporting unusually high losses of bees. Sure, the queen bee is still loafing around the hive and there are plenty of younger bees, hanging out in their combs, listening to emo. It’s the worker bees that are missing and without them, nothing gets pollinated.
Below is a fun video that explains the missing bees in under 5 minutes (much shorter than it would take me to blog about it, and I don’t want to get too research paper-y up in here).
If there aren’t any worker bees doing their jobs, the following are just some of the crops that will become vastly reduced in availability:
Which means a lot less:
- apple pie/crumble/crisp/muffin/turnover/fritter/sauce/butter
- pickles (F that!)
- um, the ten million things made with onions
- pumpkin pie/latte/muffin/bread/ice cream
- carrot cake/muffins/for feeding your rabbit
- guacamole at Chipotle (NOOOOOO!)
These lists could be much longer, like $15 billion dollars per year longer. Scroll down a bit here and you’ll see a much scarier list. But you get the idea. A lot of delicious, natural foods are threatened by this.
And what is “this,” you ask? It’s called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). You would know that if you had just watched the video posted above. If you didn’t, way to not want to learn the easy way. CCD is what scientists and beekeepers are calling our shortage of bees, but there still aren’t definitive reasons (that everyone can agree on) as to what causes it. It’s probably one of those things where it’s, like, you know, all the stupid and irresponsible crap we humans do on a regular basis: using pesticides, growing produce in massive amounts, using more pesticides because more plants means more bugs, not caring about the fact that the bugs you are killing might not be the only bugs dying…you know, the usual.
Enough of the negative numbers, fearsome statistics and sad thoughts about bees. Let’s get positive and proactive by learning what we can do to hopefully lend a hand to our bee buddies.
Support Local Beekeepers: Even if you don’t shop at Whole Foods or a neighborhood co-op, there’s a good change your grocery spot has some Minnesota (or nearby) honey on the shelf. Yes, the bear-shaped bottle is adorable, but trust me – the local stuff tastes much better.
Avoid Using Pesticides: Being “green” isn’t a new concept; there are natural solutions to getting rid of not-as-cool-as-bees insects. A quick Google search for organic gardening products should do the trick, as would a visit to your local gardening center.
Become A Beekeeper: Yes, I’m serious. There are people that will teach you how. If committing to a new hobby isn’t your thing, you can set up some bee blocks in your backyard. Either way, you’re bound to earn some street cred.
Here is a handsome website from the UK that offers more solutions for you lovers of bees.
“Wrap it up, Swalley!”
Bees are awesome, they help obtain super yummy munchies, and I want to keep eating those tasty munchies. I bet you do, too, so think about the bees when you shop, garden, and talk to other people who think they know everything and you want to be smart, too. The bees and I thank you, the end.