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Being an environmental activist in today’s culture is extremely important. Taking care of our environment will give it life, and in turn, provide a longer lifespan for humans and our Earth. Coming together in groups or even by yourself and addressing different concerns about the environment can raise awareness and make a huge difference. One of the many ways that you can break into environmental activism is beekeeping!
It’s a hot summer day and you’re relaxing on your back porch while sipping an ice-cold lemonade. As you’re sitting back and soaking up that summer heat, a bee approaches and you instantly start swatting at it to try and make it go away. What you don’t know is that the bee is likely looking for food or a home, and killing that bee is the exact opposite of what you should do. Bees play one of the most important roles for the health of our planet and beekeeping or promoting bee health is not only good for our environment but necessary.
Why are bees important?
Bees are pollinators! Pollination allows plants to fertilize, produce seeds and grow, providing a number of benefits for the environment. But what does pollination and beekeeping have anything to do with us?
According to One Green Planet, “Honeybees and the other pollinators and the invaluable pollinating services they provide us with helped produce approximately $19 billion worth of agricultural crops in the U.S. alone in 2010; that’s estimated to be one-third of everything we eat!”
Without bees, the food system that humans have worked so far to create would be unsustainable. We’d have to manually pollinate all of our crops, which would not be as effective and cost our economy millions of dollars!
Beekeeping is needed because bees are dying
There are a number of reasons why bees are starting to disappear around the world. As humans continue to grow, we make changes to the habitat where bees forage, taking away their nutrition. Another cause is pesticides that may seem okay to use to promote your flowers’ growth, but are toxic for bees and can lead to colony collapse syndrome.
Colony collapse syndrome is when bees, most of the time worker bees, start disappearing from their hives. While worker bees cannot reproduce, they are the main thing keeping their hive alive. They feed the queen and larvae, provide most of the cleaning of the hive, and they also collect pollen and nectar. Without the help of the worker bees, the colony itself cannot survive.
According to PennState University, “In the US, beekeepers have lost ~30% of their colonies every year since 2006, with total annual losses sometimes reaching as high as 42%”. This is why beekeeping is such an important role in environmental activism. The more beekeepers we have, the more of a chance the bees have to survive.
How to Start Beekeeping
The beginning process of beekeeping is not as simple as finding a bee and hoping it’ll make your house its home. There are a number of supplies that you need to purchase prior to inviting the bees over. The first thing on your list should be a book on beekeeping!
We wish we could walk you through each and every step on beekeeping, but there are so many things you’ll need to know, like how to care for them in the winter months. This book will give you helpful tips to start beekeeping in your backyard!
Another great place to start before venturing into beekeeping is to reach out to a local beekeeper and watch their process. Beekeeping is extremely tedious, and you have to make sure that you love it before you order all the supplies. Working alongside a local beekeeper can provide endless tips and tricks that you may never learn from a book.
Once you’ve read through your beekeeping book and reached out to local beekeepers in your area, then you can begin to order your supplies. You’ll need a hive system, a smoker, protective gear, a hive tool, and a bee brush. You’ll be taking care of your bees, so you can’t be afraid to touch them. Having the right tools and protective gear will help give you little more confidence when you first start your journey into beekeeping.
Then comes the most fun part – ordering your bees! Beekeeping isn’t as simple as finding a hive and hoping that you’ll transition into your hive system. You have to have a queen in your system, otherwise, bees will not make honey to take care of the nest. Searching Facebook groups for your local beekeepers is a great way to connect with others and buy bees directly from a local source! If you don’t have anyone who is beekeeping around you, Kelley Bees will ship bees directly to you.
Keep in mind that bees only ship during the Spring months, so ordering in the Winter months would be a great way to ensure that you get your bees on time.
Once you get the hang of it…
When you feel like you’ve finally mastered beekeeping, make sure to pass your knowledge to others around you! Part of being an environmental activist is working together in groups to spread awareness and knowledge. We should all be working together to help save the bees and ensure that our environment survives.
Plus, you’ll likely have honey to hand out as will – giving extra incentive for your friends and family to start their beekeeping adventure!
Read More: Eco-friendly and Unique Ways to Garden
What you can do if you can’t start beekeeping
We totally get it, beekeeping is not an easy task and some people just don’t have space or time to do it. But there are so many other things to help bees thrive than just beekeeping. There are a number of easy maintenance flowers that you can plant around your yard that bees love! Having these plants in your garden will help keep bees pollinating and reproducing. Here is a short list of plants that will help bees thrive:
- Chive Flowers
Another positive way that you can help save the bees without beekeeping yourself is to become more of an environmental activist. Speaking to others on the important role that bees play in our environment, even if you’re just talking to your neighbors, can help spread awareness of the help that we can give.
Saving the bees is so important for the health of our Earth and humankind! These beautiful pollinators help our crops and ensure that we don’t waste millions of dollars trying to feed ourselves in an inefficient way. Whether you choose to start beekeeping at home or you plan on planting flowers in your garden for pollinators, each step can help raise the number of bees on our planet.
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