Bee Responsible

By Christy Erickson

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IF YOU HAVE WATCHED THE NEWS OF LATE, you will have heard numerous stories
about the decline of the honeybee population.

Make no mistake: this sensationalism is not unfounded. The extinction of the European
honeybee would spell out significant economic catastrophe worldwide. Society would be vastly affected. We would begin to lose important crop yields in the amount of an estimated 15 billion dollars, considering 26% of a dinner plate is a result of pollination.

With that said, colony collapse can be prevented. While CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) is caused by various factors outside of immediate human control, there are still many things you can do to help increase bee populations, including:

• Planting a bee-friendly garden of edible and aesthetically pleasing herbs and flowers
Sponsor a hive
• Support local beekeepers
• Buy local, freshly-produced honey at your local farmers market
• Avoid using neonicotinoid pesticides
• Start a hive of your own
• Monitor your hives at least bi-weekly for Varroa mites and don’t ignore them

Creating your own hive is not as complicated as you may think, but will require some
planning and professional consultation. Farmers markets are excellent places to meet
skilled beekeepers, and they’ll provide all kinds of valuable insight on how to start a successful hive in your area. There is a strong consensus that you should learn as much as possible before you start. Failure to do so could result in the loss of your hive, or worse: helping CCD to continue.

Backyard beekeepers should be prepared to be stung, so knowing in advance if you or any
of your restaurant employees have a bee allergy is vital. If no one’s health poses a risk, the
effort (and stinging sensation) is worth its weight in gold — that is, the golden honey you
can incorporate into your food and beverage menu items or sell at restaurants or local
farmers markets! You can also harvest beeswax for all kinds of household purposes, from
homemade itch salve to furniture polish that can be made available for sale.

Beekeeping can be a fulfilling practice and exceedingly beneficial to your local community,
both environmentally and economically. The measures that we’ve already implemented to sustain populations have been successful, with the bee population and honey production on the rise thanks to dedicated beekeepers, without whom, CCD would continue unabated in its destruction of colonies.

With our help, the bee population can survive and thrive. From the city to the
countryside, we must do our part by actively working to maintain and help increase
populations.

For more, visit www.savingourbees.org.

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