I recently attended an event sponsored by Pacific Natural Foods and hosted by Whole Foods Market. The event took place at Pacific Food’s headquarters in Tualatin, Oregon and was all about honey bees and creating pollinator programs. Entomology department experts from Washington State University led the presentation and they are certified bee experts.
Here’s a little background about bees….
In 1945 there were over 5 million bees in the United States. By 1984, that number had dropped to 3 million. By 2007, there were only about 2.3 million bees and colony collapse disorder became big news.
What’s happened to the honey bee population?
- Honey bees need pollen from many different plants and when pesticides get used, it leaves fewer variations in the honey bee diet. Honey bees like to eat different types of foods – just like we do – and when pesticides are used in farming, plants and weeds that bees like are eliminated.
- Demographics have changed, too. What used to be exclusively farmland has become suburbs and sub-divisions.
- Our crops have changed. No longer are there farmers with lots of different crops. There are farms with only one type of plant growing.
What can we do to welcome bees to our yards?
- Embrace weeds: Don’t use pesticides and weed killers in our yards and gardens. Having recently added dandelion greens to our green salads, I can say that I’d rather eat the weeds in our garden than fight with them!
- Plant bee friendly plants: Plant honey bee and pollinator friendly plants – encourage your neighbors to do so, too.
- Have a bee bath in the yard – bees need to drink so have a dish with stones and a little water to give them a drink this summer.
Thank you to Pacific Natural Foods for being an environmentally friendly company and making room on the farm for bees. I can’t wait to see how the bee keeping efforts evolved.
Thank you to Whole Foods Market for supporting bees and their “Share the Buzz” program that is raising awareness around the busy bee workers!
Thank you to Washington State University Bee Experts for sharing your knowledge and passion.
Image credits: All of the beautiful photographs were taken by Ali Greer. Thank you, Ali.
Disclosure: I was not compensated to share this information but I think it’s important and wanted to share it with my readers.
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