The United States has seen a significant decline in bee population in the past decade but it seems things have gotten a little less deadly for the colonies in 2016. After all, the annual nationwide survey of the Bee Informed Partnership reveals that U.S. beekeepers only lost 33 percent of their colonies in 2016, compared to the previous year where more than 40 percent of the colonies perished.
While the number is still high and the bee populations remain threatened, at least 7 percent more bee survivors still offer hope for the diligent workers. Of course, we can save even more bees without waiting for environmental groups to sue the government for its slow action.
"Lower losses are a great start, but it's important to remember that 33 percent is still much higher than beekeepers deem acceptable. There is still much work to do," University of Maryland Department of Entomology graduate student Kelly Kulhanek said.
Here are some ways you can contribute to help keep the bee populations from dying out.
Avoid Using Pesticides
As much as possible, avoid the use of synthetic fungicides and neonicotinoids pesticides, since it has been proven to cause colony collapse in honeybees. Killing bees may not be your intentions for using chemicals to grow your plants but most pesticides do not draw the line between invasive insects and beneficial ones. Some common chemicals also leave bees susceptible to deadly viruses so, just because majority of farmers use a product does not mean it is safe.
Exercise Your Green Thumb
Plants are important for bees so even a plant box by your window could already give the pollinators snacks for the day. Better yet, get everyone in the community involved by creating a green space in the neighborhood or, if you live in the city, you could suggest a small rooftop pollinator garden where bees can work and residents can relax. Experts suggest planting single-petal flowering plants since those allow bees more access.
If you're really not a green thumb, however, just keeping dandelions alive would help bees a lot since the weed is rich in pollen and nectar.
Quench Bee Thirst
All the pollinating work bees do throughout the day leave them thirsty. You may not be aware of it, but bees also need to drink water to rehydrate. What you can do if you're not too keen on planting a garden is to leave out a small basin of water where bees could stop by for a drink and put pebbles or anything that bees could stand on so they don't drown. Just make sure to clean the basin and change the water everyday so mosquitoes don't end up taking over your home.
You can also donate to organizations that support bee conservation or, better yet, sponsor a whole hive of bees! That way, you will not only save an entire hive, you can also feel good by helping further an organization's goals.