This week is National Pollinator Week – a week set aside by the United States Senate, eight years ago, that has since grown to become internationally recognized and celebrated.
The advent of National Pollinator Week grew out of the increasing concern over the plight of one of our most valuable pollinators – the honeybee.
The Decline of Honeybees
For years now, scientists have been watching our honeybees die off at alarming rates, a phenomenon referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). In addition, the overall health of bee colonies has been declining, further compounding the problem. This may seem an unfortunate but harmless occurrence, but the reality of the situation is grim.
Honeybees are the behind-the-scenes workers of the agriculture industry, providing a natural way of pollinating the world’s food supply. While the world would not go hungry without honeybees, according to National Geographic, we would likely lose (or pay a hefty price to provide for inefficient, artificial pollination methods) many of the foods we rely on, noting that about one third of our crops rely on these natural pollinators.
Unfortunately, scientists are having a hard time nailing down the actual cause of this debilitating phenomenon. Much speculation about the root cause of the colony collapse and overall bee colony health exists, with researchers looking into everything from pathogens, to pesticides and environmental stressors.
How You Can Help
While the solution will likely require global change, there are ways you can do your part to aid in the bee pandemic. With little known about the actual cause of CCD, it’s tough to pinpoint a solution(s) to the problem. However, the USDA does provide some recommendations to the public to aid in efforts to conserve honeybee colonies.
According to the USDA, the public should be careful about pesticide use. If using pesticides, applying them when honeybees are less likely to be out foraging (peak foraging time is typically around mid-day) is one way to help out our pollinating friends.
Furthermore, the USDA recommends cultivating plants that encourage pollination. Various flowers and other native plants provide a healthy food source for pollinating creatures.
It is for this reason that Encap offers our Pollinator Honey Bee Mix. This all-in-one product contains everything you need to cultivate a vibrant, productive garden for honeybees to rely on. This flower kit is specially formulated with a variety of flowers to attract honeybees and provide a reliable, healthy source of food, ultimately helping in maintaining healthy, productive bee colonies.
So, while it may seem overwhelming, it’s easy to do your part in the fight for our honeybees. Reducing your use of pesticides, or applying them during off-hours, as well as planting a garden that encourages pollination, can help in keeping honeybees in your community strong and productive.
Happy National Pollinator Week!