To Bee, or Not to Bee – That is, Indeed, the Question!
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on August 31, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Bees, bees, those busy bees! Amazingly, these little creatures are responsible for pollinating almost 75% of the 100 crop species that provide virtually all of our global food supplies (90 percent of it). Many vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and seed crops are dependent on pollination, and most of that is done by wild bees.
As stated by Achim Steiner, UN Undersecretary-General and UNEP’s Executive Director: “The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century.”
Colony Collapse Disorder has been increasing globally over the last decade and is most prevalent in North America. Factors contributing to the decline of honey bee populations include:
1. Habitat loss/deterioration by humans. Considered a key cause of honey bee decline due to reduced food sources available.
2. Weak ecosystems. These encourage mites, viruses, beetles to proliferate and infect bees.
3. Pollution disrupts vital scent trails produced by chemicals in plants.
4. Climate change. Shorter growing seasons and changing weather patterns affect plants & pollen.
5. Electromagnetic field disruptions can disturb bee behaviors.
6. Genetically modified seeds and terminator seeds. These affect the production of pollen nutrients and can lead to malnourishment of bees.
7. Toxic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.
General Ways to Support Bee Populations:
• Habitat conservation.
• Alternative farming methods.
• Planting of pollinator-friendly plants.
Backyard beehives are another great way to help support your local wild bee populations. There are even companies that will come in, set them up, and manage them for you (you keep the honey) – a sweet way to reap the rewards of your efforts!
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Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan