July 10, 2013 at 10:44 pm #6632
If you pay attention to the news, you know bees are in real trouble. But what you might not know is that there is a solution—and it can be found in your own backyard (or rooftop)—the urban environment. Cities provide perhaps the best honeybee habit available. Between our home gardens, landscaping, green spaces and parks—even the weeds growing along the cracks in our sidewalks—bees have more than enough forage (pollen and nectar) to provide for themselves. It’s no small benefit that most of the forage they find in our cities is pesticide-free! Beekeepers around the world—from Paris and London to Manhattan and Montreal—have recognized this advantage and begun to keep bees absolutely everywhere from the rooftops of hotels, restaurants and apartment buildings to residential backyards, community gardens, public parks and uninhabited municipal spaces. And these city bees are thriving.
In order to ensure that we will have bees in the future to pollinate our food crops, we must continue to make our cities sanctuaries for honeybees, expand on this opportunity and encourage a new generation of beekeepers who will join the fight for the honeybees’ survival. By making our cities more bee friendly, we also make them more human friendly. Fewer pesticides and more plants are a win/win for both species.
You don’t have to don a beekeeper suit and pick up a smoker to help bees. (Although many do. More and more cities have groups like Honeylove.org that teach people how to become urban beekeepers.) One of the best ways you can contribute to the health and well-being of honeybees (and a whole host of other creatures as well) is to plant a pollinator-friendly garden. By creating habitat and forage, you are contributing to the health of the entire ecosystem. In order to make your yard and garden a healthy environment for bees and pollinators, you must shun the pesticides. Many, if not most, of the pesticides sold for consumer use are toxic to bees and should be avoided at all costs. And if you should have a chance encounter with honeybees, whether a swarm or because they’ve moved into somewhere they are unwanted, please call a professional bee rescuer instead of calling an exterminator.
This is just the beginning, there is so much more we can do to help. From the choices we make as consumers and the votes we cast at the ballot box to the ways we can live more sustainably at home and in our gardens, this is the place to hash it out. Please discuss.
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