This past year saw a drastic and devastating loss of honey bees in Canada and the U.S. It is what is being referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder and can be attributed to a number of factors.
- Poor bee nutrition – from high fructose corn syrup that is being fed to bees and a lack of diversity from monoculture (single cropsgrown in the same area year after year).
- Anti-biotics pumped into sick hives.
- No down-time that seasons naturally provide.
Honey bees saw a mortality rate of 30% last year, with some areas faring worse than others. Manitoba was hit hard with a decline of 46.4%. What this means is that farmers who heavily rely on bees are renting hives at a very high cost. Despite this, it could still mean a vast increase in cost for foods such as almonds, cherries and peaches as well as honey.
So what can we do to help the bee population? Here are a couple of things:
- Support organic foods
- Use diverse and natives plants in your garden. For more information on what toplant in Ontario check out this article from Canadian Gardening.
- Bee active and aware in the fight for bees. Start with the Sierra Club’s page dedicated to saving the bees.
You can also check out the progress that the Government of Ontario is taking and how they are dealing with the bee crisis!