Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

May 16
4 min read
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Save the Bees

Your purchase benefits the protection of all bees! With every purchase of Save the Bees Wildflower Seeds, True Leaf Market will make a special donation to The Bee Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that puts bees first.

Who is The Bee Conservancy

A nonprofit organization established in 2009 in response to the bee crisis.

The Bee Conservancy Mission

The Honeybee Conservancy was founded in 2009 by Guillermo Fernandez in response to the news that bees across the globe were in crisis. In fall of 2020, The Honeybee Conservancy relaunched as The Bee Conservancy to better capture our work protecting all bees and securing environmental and food justice through education, research, habitat creation, and advocacy.

Why are Bees Important

Most people understand that bees are responsible for making honey, but did you know they are also responsible for the pollination of flowers which results in a third of the food we eat? Pollination is the transfer of pollen that results in a fertilized flower ovule. After pollination, the ovule matures into seeds or fruit that you benefit from. Without pollination, the flower will die and yield no fruit or seed, even though the plant may be healthy.

While some plants are self-pollinating by a gentle breeze of wind, others rely on the activity of pollinators like bees. Without them, we would not be able to harvest fruits, vegetables, and nuts such as almonds, apples, onions, blueberries, cucumbers, carrots, squash, broccoli, and melons, among many others.

In addition to their role in food production, bees also produce honey and beeswax. Both of these are highly valuable to people. However, they first serve to support the life of the bee colony. Honey reserves provide an important source of food to get bees through cold winters without being able to collect pollen. In addition to producing sweet honey, bees also create unique wax structures to hold the honey and house the next generation of bees until they mature. While it is not harmful for us to harvest their honey and wax, it should be done with care so as not to interrupt their young larvae or winter food availability. Beeswax is useful for a myriad of things but is popular for use in the beauty industry as it naturally locks in moisture, prevents bacterial growth, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

honey bee

Honey Bee

native bee

Native Bee

Challenges of Bees

  • 🐝 Habitat Loss - Both honeybees and native species rely on healthy habitats for pollen collection. However, The Bee Conservancy details many problems are wreaking havoc on their ability to thrive, including “land development, pesticide use, and the installation of invasive and genetically modified plants — are destroying essential food, shelter, and nesting sites for bees.” While safe habitats provide a food source for honeybees, it is imperative to the life of native species. Native bees don’t live in large colonies like honeybees do. Instead, they live more solitary lives and burrow in the soil rather than above-ground nests. They also have much shorter lifespans and flight ranges. Restoring bee habitats is one of the greatest ways you can support these vital pollinators. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, “Scientists have estimated that globally, 1 in 6 bee species is regionally extinct and more than 40 percent are vulnerable to extinction.”
  • 🐝 Colony Collapse Disorder - For honeybees, colony collapse disorder is one of their greatest threats. There doesn’t seem to be any single cause of it occurring, but rather the culmination of several stress factors, including pesticide poisoning, invasive pests of the honey bee, transportation stress, inadequate nutrition, and poor habitats. As the ability of a colony to endure the winter season is threatened by these stress factors, the life of the queen and young larvae are prioritized for the coming season. The bulk of the worker bees are forced to seek shelter elsewhere in an effort to keep the hive from complete collapse due to inadequate resources or protection in one form or another.

How You Can Help Save the Bees #BeeTheSolution

Saving the bees doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply growing a garden suitable for supporting bee populations is a huge help. Wildflowers are great for providing healthy habitats without a lot of labor on your part. In addition to growing gardens that support bee needs, practice organic growing methods. These methods focus on using natural remedies rather than relying on synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides. Utilizing cover crops, companion planting and natural sources of pest prevention can help you keep your garden healthy without introducing harmful products to bee populations. For more ideas on how you can help save the bees, check out The Bee Conservancy’s 10 Ways to Save the Bees.

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