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  • Writer's pictureBonney Rempel


Updated: Jan 1, 2021

The bee symbolizes community, brightness, and personal power. The ancient Druids saw the bees as symbolizing the sun, celebration, and community. Since the honey bee will protect its home at the risk of its own life, it also represents loyalty and courage. Bees have been disappearing rapidly since 2009. It’s not just honey bees, but all bees (there are currently over 4,000 species of wild bees in North America alone). Most bees are pollinators and help our plant system to reproduce. For example, fruits and vegetables, such as apples, strawberries, cherries, almonds, and tomatoes, all need pollinators. It is estimated that 30% of the world’s crops (and 90% of wild plants!) need an insect, like a bee, to thrive. There are many reasons bees are disappearing: insecticides, pollution of rivers and water sources, pollution of the soil which contaminates plants (like Roundup), extreme climates, reduction of wild prairies, mono-crop culture, the extension of lawns, industrial beekeeping practices, etc. So here are 5 ways YOU can help save the bees!

  1. Do not use any pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides on plants or in your garden. Plants get contaminated and the product will likely reach the bees and kill them. Make sure the plants you buy are not pre-treated with neonic pesticides!

  2. Buy local and raw honey from your local beekeepers. Avoid honey sold in bulk or in the supermarket unless you are sure of its provenance and quality. It’s always best to buy at farmers markets so you can meet your beekeeper and check with them on their sustainable beekeeping practices.

  3. Plant your garden with native and bee friendly plants, such as sunflowers, crocus, foxglove, dahlia, lavender, cosmos, and goldenrod. They provide great sources of nectar and pollen (both of which are food for the bees and butterflies). It’s important for bees, as it is for us, to have a diverse and regular food supply.

  4. If you just have a small balcony, you can install a little water basin for the bees to drink during the warm days of summer. Put a few stones and floating cork in the water so bees won’t drown!

  5. Educate yourself and your children on bees. Bees are not dangerous; they forage on a flower and don’t attack humans. Bees are herbivores; wasps are carnivores.

How to tell bees from wasps:                                                                                        If it’s cute, it’s probably a bee. Interested in the barbecue? Likely a wasp (bees are vegetarian). Did you know male bumblebees have moustaches and mining bees wear pollen pants? I hope this gives you some good ideas on how to help us bee-well! #SaveTheBees

Written January 2019 for Oakridge Centre


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