Save the Bees to Save Agriculture
Honeybees and bees in general, are declining at a RAPID pace and this is a disaster. If you’re thinking “Why should I care about bees?”, well because according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, every 1 in 3 mouthfuls in the American diet, is in some way or another, a product of honey bee pollination. This means that the decline in the bee population is resulting in a crisis concerning our food supply. Bees can’t speak up for themselves, so we must do the speaking on bee-half of them. We need to help them and fast.
One way to help them is through beekeeping. I know it sounds like a daunting and high maintenance task, but it’s actually not so bad, especially if you just start small. The most time-consuming part will be the initial research, including looking up your local city codes, and getting your gear. The more research you do, the better off you’ll bee*. Winter is the best time to do just that, research. By the time Spring rolls around, which is the best time to start a hive, you’ll be ready to go! To get an idea of beekeeping, I spent a September day harvesting honey, with Pawnee Buttes Seed’s Office Manager, Pat Waldron.
Pat and her husband Tony, are beekeepers who accidentally fell into the role after finding a large hive under the floorboards of their outside dancing studio, located on their farm. Originally, the Waldron’s called a hive re-locating expert to come and move the bees somewhere else but the hive was SO big, the expert told them most of them probably wouldn’t make it. Pat and Tony then made the last-minute decision to give bee-keeping a try and keep the hive on their farm. They couldn’t bee happier about that last-minute choice.
The large hive was broken up into five smaller hives and spread around their property. Pat loves to garden and spreads some of Pawnee Buttes Seed’s Low-Grow Prairie Wildflower Mix and the honey bees go crazy for them. The great thing about being out on a farm is that the honey bees have the chance to fly to other nearby farms or roadsides to get their pollen fix. Every August/September, the Waldron’s harvest their honey. I was lucky enough to join them this year.
It was an all-day event of just getting the honey out of the actual hives and into the filter machine. The filtering itself can take several days. The Waldron’s make this an event every year and invite friends to help. It’s a long day of hauling frames and cleaning them, but the company of friends makes it go by fast with endless laughs and fresh honey tasting.
Honey harvesting is probably the hardest thing about beekeeping, but you usually only do that once or maybe twice a year if your bees are producing a bunch of honey. Honey harvesting should take place after the final nectar flow of the season, ranging between July – Mid-September. While harvesting honey can take quite a bit of muscle and time, Pat and Tony wouldn’t trade it for the world. They love doing their part to help save the bees.
Wanting to help save the bees but don’t want to jump into beekeeping? Not a problem! There are tons of other ways to help. National Geographic has a GREAT article about tips to help save bees from your home, without beekeeping, you can read it at https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/05/150524-bees-pollinators-animals-science-gardens-plants/
One of the biggest ways to help bees are to NOT destroy their hives. If you have a hive at your house, work, local park, etc., that needs to be removed, call a professional bee hive re-locater. Yes, that is a real occupation. Let the experts re-locate the hive to a better area and get a good night’s sleep knowing you not only helped the environment, but helped the agriculture industry.
Another great way to help bees, is by planting native flowers, shrubs, and other plants that pollinators love. We have a couple wonderful wildflower mixes at Pawnee Buttes Seed, including our Low-Grow Prairie Wildflower Mix that Pat uses for her bees.
The best way to help bees is to get educated about them! Learn all about what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. You will find them to be amazing creatures, I promise you that. By educating yourself about bees, you can help other people learn about them, and contribute to the fight to help Save the Bees and Save Agriculture.
Katelyn Garcia, Marketing Specialist