Bad news, my fellow Beehive-Staters: the honey bees aren’t doing too well right now. In the last three years, more than one-third of the honey bee colonies in the U.S. have disappeared. Scientists still aren’t sure what’s causing the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
So, why is this so important? Well, making honey is just a tiny part of what honey bees do for us. (In fact, the average worker bee will only product 1/12th teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.) The honey bee’s biggest contribution is pollination. Bees pollinate more than 100 crops, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. We rely on honey bees for one-third of our food supply. No honey bee equals no peaches, no melons, no avocados, no almonds, no honey.
Hopefully, scientists will figure out soon why the bees are dying and what we can do to save them. In the meantime, here are five ways to help:
1. Plant a bee-friendly garden. I know, I know, it’s autumn. But some things can be planted now. Find out how to attract bees to your garden here: www.nature.berkeley.edu/urbanbeegardens
2. If you discover a swarm of bees in your yard, don’t kill them. Instead, contact a local beekeeper through the Utah Beekeepers Association to come to the rescue (usually free of charge). www.utahbeekeepers.com
3. Buy a carton of Haagen Dazs ice cream (as if you needed the excuse, right?) They’re funding research to help save the bees. www.helpthehoneybees.com
4. Buy local Utah honey and hive products, such as Miller’s. www.millerhoney.com
5. Feeling extremely adventurous? Learn how to keep a hive and help it thrive. Two books I found are The Backyard Beekeeper and The Beekeeper’s Handbook.
*Image via helpthehoneybees.com