Some of you may know, the current bee decline crisis is something I am extremely passionate about. My family and I have over 15,000 bees in our backyard in Queens, New York. While the decrease in the honeybee population and the environmental impacts associated are real and scary – we can unite as a collective to help save the bees.
To put it bluntly, the bees are dying.
Since 2006, there has been a 40% decrease of the honeybee.
For the first time ever, seven different bee species native to Hawaii have been listed on the FDA’s Endangered Species List. This spells disaster for our eco-system, and our potentially civilization. “Native pollinators in the US provide essential pollination services to agriculture which are valued at more than $9 billion annually,” said Eric Lee-Mäder, pollinator program co-director at the Xerces Society, which was involved in petitions calling for the protection of the bee species.
While there is a small plus side, listing the bees as an endangered species allows authorities to provide recovery programs and get funding for protection. However, little has been done by authorities like the EPA to remedy the fast bee decline. Scientists have been developing something called the “RoboBee” which I got a look at during my time at a museum in Boston. Many might be familiar with the robo-bee because of popular Netflix show, “Black Mirror.”
Are man made bee drones the answer to the bee decline?
The answer: no.
Photos from the Boston Museum of Science on the RoboBee Project taken by me
Flattened at the size of a dime, the RoboBee can be mass produced overseas for fast and easy profit, and can replace the role of pollinators. Instead of creating a bee drone, why isn’t there anything being done to the actual problems associated with the bee decline?
Insecticides/Pesticides and Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are largely responsible for the bee decline.
Exactly what the name implies, insecticides are chemicals designed to kill insects that are widely applied to the environment, to crops and are often not environmentally tested or regulated. In 2007, the last released report by the EPA on Pesticide use had the US average at over 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides used. This includes herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and “other.” Who knows just how many pounds of pesticides used now, almost ten years later.
You can see more about the world pesticide use here.
Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) are “invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation , that are associated with the use of electrical power and various forms of natural and man-made lighting.” EMFs are typically characterized by wavelength or frequency into two radioactive categories:
- Non-ionizing: low-level radiation which is generally perceived as harmless to humans
- Ionizing: high-level radiation which has the potential for cellular and DNA damage
While non-ionizing sources are WiFi, cell-phones, bluetooth devices and powerlines are “generally harmless to humans,” what about bees and other small insects? With the increasing amount of WiFi throughout homes, office buildings, and in outside public spaces – it is obvious that bees and other insects would be suffering the consequences from that at a much quicker rate than humans would.
So, while we might not be able to control the increasing pesticide use or EMFs on a larger scale, how can we as individuals save the bees and provide a safe space for them?
- Plant bee-friendly plants in your backyard. Herbs, flowers and crops like lavender, sage, mint, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, oregano, rosemary.
Eliminate the use of chemicals and pesticides in your garden and on your lawn.
- Encouraging your neighbors to do the same, and presenting them with the information they may need to convince them as well. There are many natural and DIY alternatives to sustaining a healthy garden and plant life.
- Support local beekeepers at farmers markets. Commercially produced honey is filled with artificial ingredients like High Fructose Corn Syrup, preservatives, artificial coloring, and many shelf brands of honey often contain very little actual honey – seriously! Support local beekeepers who source their honey responsibly and ethically. Try my family’s Queens Bee Honey here.
- Become a beekeeper. It is much easier than you might think and extremely rewarding to give bees a safe place to harvest their honey. Learn the first steps on how to become a beekeeper here or email me to learn how to get started!
- Share this article and educate your community. Since we all know we cannot rely on authorities to take action, we must take action. By starting small and informing your friends, family members and neighbors on the bee decline crisis and how they can help give bees a chance at survival, share the information!