Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh Sweet Bee! How we love you!

Today is National Honey Bee Awareness Day! Hooray for our little bee ladies, who make it possible for us to enjoy tasty fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

A random side note: I was going to ask you, our dear readers, what category of food nuts fall into but I was going to phrase it as the following: "What is a nut?". I subsequently decided that it probably wasn't the best question to ask from this particular group of folks. I'll find out by myself, thank you very much.

"All foods made from meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of this group. Dry beans and peas are part of this group as well as the vegetable group.

Most meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat. Fish, nuts, and seeds contain healthy oils, so choose these foods frequently instead of meat or poultry."

Here are a few ways non-beekeepers can support, help, and save the honey bee

1) Consider beekeeping as a worthwhile hobby and seek information to get started. The more beekeepers there are, translates into more voices to be heard.

2) Support local beekeepers by buying locally produced honey and other beehive products. Honey is the best "green" sweetener you can use.

3) Attend and support beekeeper association events held throughout the year in most communities such as environmental centers, schools, state parks, and other various places.

4) Educate yourself on the dangers and risks with homeowner pesticides and chemicals. Whenever possible, choose non-damaging non-chemical treatments in and around the home. Most garden and backyard pests can be dealt with without harsh chemicals, which many times are not healthy for the pets, the kids, or the environment.

5) Get to know the honey bee. Unlike other stinging insects, honey bees are manageable, and are non-aggressive. Don’t blame every stinging event on the honey bee. Many times, stinging events are from hornets, yellow jackets, and wasps.

6) Plant a bee-friendly garden with native and nectar producing flowers. Use plants that can grow without extra watering and chemicals. Native plants are the best to grow in any region. Backyard gardens benefit from the neighborhood beehive.

7) Understand that backyard plants such as dandelions and clover are pollen and nectar sources for a wide variety of beneficial insects, including honey bees. Dandelions and clovers are a unwarranted nuisance for many homeowners. The desire to rid yards of these unwanted plants and to have the "perfect yard" are sources for chemical runoff and environmental damage from lawn treatments. A perfect lawn isn’t worth poisoning the earth.

8) Consider allowing a beekeeper to maintain beehives on your property. In some areas, beekeepers need additional apiary locations due to restrictive zoning or other issues. Having a beekeeper maintain hives on your property adds to overall quality and appeal of any country farm or estate.

9) Know that beekeepers are on the forefront in helping communities deal with wild bee colonies in unwanted situation. Every township and community should welcome beekeepers. It is not the managed colonies that beekeepers maintain that cause many problems, it is the unmanaged colonies. Every community should be able to rely on beekeepers and beekeeping associations for dealing with issues, and with other aspects such as educational programs. Communities should not pass restrictive measures or ban beekeeping altogether. Banning beekeepers means nobody may be around to help when help is needed.

10) Get involved with your community with things such as the local environmental center program for kids, the volunteer program at the county garden program, and other agriculture and nature based programs. No doubt you will meet a beekeeper. Beekeepers are not just people who keep bees. They are part of your community and most love nature on all levels. Beekeepers give generously to affiliated programs, as they are all connected within the communities in which we live.

List courtesy of