Today is Don't Step on a Bee Day. It is pretty much a reminder about going barefoot during the summer and to protect your feet. But it is really so much more than this.
Colony Collapse Disorder is where bees are disappearing and dying at ever increasing rates. Wikipedia defines it as:
"...a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. Colony collapse is significant economically because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees; and ecologically, because of the major role that bees play in the reproduction of plant communities in the wild."
If you like to eat, the last sentence should matter very much to you. Bees are responsible for much, if not most, of the foods you eat. Want to know just how many foods rely on bees? Just take a peek at this list. Pretty eye opening, isn't it?
There are things you can do as an individual to help the bees. Some suggestions are:
Plant things bees like. Clover, sage, salvia, oregano, lavender, yarrow, alfalfa, honeywort, dragonhead, echinacea, bee balm, just to name a few. Flowering trees, flowering plants, there are so many bee friendly plants available to you. Just plant some!
Create or provide a bee habitat. Like all creatures, they need a safe place to live. They also need a water source. Research how to make a bee house, one you can do easily.
Don't use or severely limit pesticides. It has been theorized that pesticides are what is contributing to the bee death. Go organic - for you, for the bees, for the planet.
As a vegan, I don't use honey. Bees are extremely intelligent and studies have demonstrated that they feel pain. BeeCulture magazine reports that beekeepers are notorious for contributing to the spread of disease: 'Beekeepers move infected combs from diseased colonies to healthy colonies, fail to recognize or treat disease, purchase old infected equipment, keep colonies too close together, [and] leave dead colonies in apiaries.' Artificial diets, provided because farmers take the honey that bees would normally eat, leave bees susceptible to sickness and attack from other insects. When diseases are detected, beekeepers are advised to 'destroy the colony and burn the equipment,' which can mean burning or gassing the bees to death.
Bees need their honey. I don't.
I'm thinking today should be renamed to Be Kind To Bees Day instead.