Bees: Why Are They Dying & What Can You Do?

You may have heard that many bees are dying off, but you may not know why. The truth is that scientists have yet to pinpoint one exact and specific reason for this, but many are citing Colony Collapse Disorder as the term for the disruption. There are many suspects for the cause of CCD, including pesticides, mites, and a lack of food for the bees. It may also be a combination of all three of these suspects, which makes it difficult for scientists to ban one or tackle the other. Bees have been in decline already for 60 years or more, but these factors may be contributing to the loss of one in three colonies every winter.

One third of our food production is dependent on bees. Bees are actually very useful to humans, and you might not realize the effect that the death of bees would have on you. Bees are such small creatures and for many people it may be difficult to see past a possible honey shortage. To put it into perspective, here is a snapshot of what we would lose: apples, onions, avocados, carrots, mangoes, lemons, limes, honeydew, cantaloupe, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, cucumbers, green onions, cauliflower, leeks, bok choy, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, mustard greens. Below you can see a visual of what a Whole Foods would look like if bees ceased to exist:

Market with bees

source: SHFT

As you can see, our diets would be very different if bees were unable to pollenate our plants. According to SHFT, Whole Foods would lose 237 of its 453 products. So what can you do to help the bees?

  • Buy local honey to support the local beekeeping economy
  • Plant flowers in your yard that bloom throughout the year during different seasons. Focus on varieties that bees like.
  • Avoid pesticides in your garden at all costs
  • Support farms with clean growing practices

These four small acts are just a few ways that you can help support the health of the bees.