Nature’s best pollinators help create the flavors of Thanksgiving. Above, a bee pollinates apple blossoms.
Despite how much they have to offer to our Thanksgiving feast and beyond, bees face challenges that are putting them in peril. Pesticide use, habitat loss and climate change are among the major factors that hurt bees.
The United States has 4,000 species of native bees, yet more than half of species examined are in decline. Honey bees are also faring poorly. Last year, U.S. beekeepers reported losing 45.5% of their colonies, which was the second highest annual loss rate on record.
As we give thanks for bees this holiday season and look ahead to making our new year resolutions, there are a few ways you can help save these pollinators.
Plant a bee-friendly garden. Gardens are havens for bees and other pollinators. Incorporating a variety of flowering plants helps support many bee species. Contact your local nursery for native plants that are favorites of bees.
Reduce your pesticide use. Aim to create a low- to no-pesticide yard to avoid the unintended negative consequences pesticides often have on bees. And this Thanksgiving, consider adding organic foods to your cart, since these foods avoid synthetic pesticides known to harm bees.
Call your elected officials. Make your voice heard by picking up the phone and calling your elected officials -- city, state or federal -- to urge them to support initiatives to increase bee habitat or reduce pesticide use.
During this Thanksgiving dinner, and the many meals of leftovers that follow, I hope you share my renewed appreciation for bees and take the next step to help ensure these amazing creatures thrive.
Top photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.