Guest Post: Bee The Change!

It’s April and the flowers are bursting and the hives are waking from their winter “slumber”. This season offers tangible reminders of the cycles of growth and the interconnections of our ecosystem. On Earth Day (April 22, Global) we are asked to take a closer look at the environment, ecosystems and natural world that supports us. This way of thinking can, and should, be a regular practice – we are all sharing this planet, and our collective actions, dollars, voices and priorities can have positive impacts. With this in mind, one of our wonderful volunteers has compiled a list to help you get started! Thanks Rebeka!


Five Simple Ways You Can Protect The Planet And the Bees This Earth Month
By Rebeka MacDonald

April 22nd marks Earth Day: a day to celebrate our extraordinary environment and raise awareness of the threats against it. More than a billion people around the world will rally to inspire policy changes to protect the planet. But why stop at one day? Did you know the entire month of April has been earmarked as Earth Month?

When we talk about saving the earth, we can’t help but also talk about the bees. They’re both round, famously two-toned, and massively underappreciated. After all, without bees and other pollinators, we wouldn’t have apples, avocados, or chocolate!

So what can you do to make sure both the planet and the bees get the help they need? Here are five simple actions you can take this Earth Month to make a difference.

Buy Local Produce
Unlike the monoculture crops of large-scale production, your local farmer will grow a variety of crops to lengthen their harvest season. This variety promotes genetic diversity, which protects our food from disease. Genetic diversity is also important for a bee’s nutritional needs. Just like us, bees need to eat an assortment of food to be healthy. A wide variety of pollen will give bees a wide variety of proteins, fats, and vitamins.

The easiest way to support healthy crops and healthy bees is to buy local produce. Visit your local farmer’s market for a scrumptious selection of fruits and veggies grown right here at home. You can also find locally grown produce at most grocery stores – keep an eye out for your food’s origins!

Ed. Note: Buy Local Ice Cream too – during the month of April Earnest Ice Cream is donating towards H4H for every pint of Honey Chamomile ice cream sold!

Plant Native Wildflowers
You might think that planting anything in your garden is good for the planet, but your plants are part of an intricate ecosystem. What you plant in your garden doesn’t stay in your garden. Invasive plants can straight up hijack an ecosystem: they change the soil chemistry, steal resources from native plants, and don’t contribute to the food chain. Not cool.

When you plant native species, you’re supporting the local ecosystem that has perfected itself over hundreds of years. Many native bee species rely on native plants for building materials and shelter. Find out what plant species are native to your area by talking to your local nursery, or check out the Native Plant Society of BC’s website for a list of suppliers in BC and more helpful resources!

Avoid Using Pesticides
Now that you’ve planted your bee-friendly native wildflowers, it’s time to take care of them. Most gardeners are quick to spray their gardens with pesticides to support healthy plants, but what about the health of the bees? While neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide that is deadly to bees, has been banned in Vancouver, many other pesticides are still toxic to bees and can impair their brain function. If you have old pesticides in your garden shed and want to dispose of them safely, you can do so here. Report misuse in the city of Vancouver by dialing 311.

Pesticides aren’t just harmful to bees though. When you use pesticides in your garden, they can seep into the soil and eventually make their way into nearby water sources. From water, to insects, to fish, to birds, these harmful chemicals upset the surrounding ecosystem. Instead, opt for more natural remedies like spraying aphids with water and repelling slugs with beer.

Ride Your Bike
We all know air pollution stinks: it’s harmful for our bodies and is a major contributor to climate change. As if that isn’t enough, did you know air pollution can harm a bee’s ability to pollinate effectively? Bees don’t have very good eyesight, so they rely on their sense of smell to find their way to flowers. Air pollution can mask the scent of flowers by as much as 90 percent, making it difficult for bees to find food.

Some especially toxic pollutants are found in traffic exhaust. By driving your car less, you can help reduce your carbon footprint and clear the air for the bees. Try riding your bike more often instead. The planet, the bees, and your glutes will thank you.

Don’t Buy New Clothes
It can take 2,700 litres of water to produce the cotton for one t-shirt. From cultivating cotton crops, to dying the textiles, to finishing the product, your new t-shirt is one thirsty product. In fact, cotton farming in Central Asia over the past 50 years has caused the Aral Lake, once the fourth largest lake in the world, to shrink by 90%.

What about water conservation for the sake of the bees? During a drought, flowers go into survival mode, and produce less nectar and pollen. This means less food for bees! You can say no to fast fashion soaking up our planet’s water by not buying any new clothing this month. Check out your local thrift store, borrow from a friend, and make do with what you’ve got. The bees will agree that stripes are still in this season.

It’s time to take a stand for the earth and the bees. Just like the survival of a hive depends on the work of many individual bees, our planet relies on the combined efforts of its people. Your small choices can contribute to a big impact. What impact will you have this Earth Month?


Learn more about pollinator advocacy here and share your own resources online on Hives for Humanity’s social media (Facebook // Instagram // Twitter):


Comments are closed.