Monday, July 22, 2013

Bees Are Disappearing. You Can Help Them Return

A vital link in our food chain is disappearing, but you can be a part of the solution in your own backyard.

Honeybees work in hive
Bees play a vital role in our food supply by pollinating the plants we eat.

Poisonous pesticide, killer zombie bees, deadly plagues.

Sounds like the premise to a cheesy horror film, right? According to scientists, these are a few of the reasons bees are mysteriously vanishing around the world. This problem came to light around 2006, when the term “colony collapse disorder” was coined to describe the sudden decrease in honeybee colonies in North America. Beekeepers across the Atlantic also reported dramatic losses.

Bees may be known for stinging people and producing honey, but they also play a vital role in our food supply by pollinating the plants we eat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that since 2010 one-third to one-fifth of our honeybee colonies have disappeared. Consider the impact on our food supply if one-third to one-fifth of our fruit and vegetable plants were not pollinated.

How to Help

The solution could quite literally be in your own backyard.

  • Become a Beekeeper: Urban and backyard beekeeping is on the rise, gaining ground in the unlikeliest of places. At the Cedar Creek Corrections Center in Washington state, prisoners learn to maintain colonies as part of the Sustainability in Prisons Project. Here is a guide to starting a backyard colony.
  • Plant a Bee-Friendly Garden: Not ready to host a hive? Help host bees while beautifying your outdoor space by incorporating native plants. In the Pacific Northwest, these include trillium, wood sorrel, thrift and tiger lily.
  • Adopt a Garden: Seattle artist Sarah Bergmann is the mastermind behind The Pollinator Pathway, a project to transform streetside planting strips into mini gardens providing food and habitat to bees and other pollinators. Local citizens can participate by tending a garden or contributing to the project through donations. Consider this concept in your community.
  • Don't live in the Pacific Northwest? The non-profit group Pollinator Partnership provides region-specific planting guides.

To learn more about our buzzing friends, see "Vanishing Bees," the 2009 documentary produced by Scientific American.

By Sylvia Pong, Bastyr dietetic intern, and Debra Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University.

Subscribe to Newsletters

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

More Health Tips

It's important to be mindful about how we use technology. Here are some tips for a healthful relationship with digital technology.

Here are some ways to eat an inexpensive and well-balanced diet consisting of many nutritious whole foods.

Here's how to create a healthy posture to improve your health.

The main benefit of the Paleo diet is that it promotes eating whole, nutritious foods while avoiding refined, processed foods.

While tax season can be daunting and stressful, these are simple, easy ways to help lighten the load.

Behind the calm exterior of a doula is a person who is constantly thinking, strategizing and endeavoring to create an environment to support a pregnant, birthing or postpartum family.

Events

Apr 23 General

Join Bastyr Center faculty Brad Lichtenstein, ND, to drink tea, eat cake and talk about death.

Apr 24 Admissions

Take advantage of this opportunity to speak with an admissions representative and learn how Bastyr can help you build a career that helps create a healthier world.

Apr 26 Continuing Ed

Fine tune your skills diagnosing and treating trauma with Chinese medicine. We will discuss the heart/kidney axis as the physiological foundation of stability and how to restore integrity to this most important relationship.
April 26-27, Sat-Sun, 9a.m.-5p.m.
Instructor: Lonny Jarrett, MAc, MS, FNAAOM.
(13 CEUs, PDAs, CPEUs)

Recent News

Naturopathic doctors can become licensed health care providers as Maryland becomes the latest state recognizing naturopathic medicine.

David Tolmie, BS ('06), MLIS, combines psychology and technology skills to help students navigate the fast-changing world of evidence-informed medicine.

Coquina Deger, MBA, and David Siebert fill key roles as part of President’s Cabinet

Herbal sciences students cook up foods with love -- and health-giving herbs -- in a popular lab class.

The actor and author joins us for a Q-and-A before her May 22 talk at Bastyr's Spring for Health Luncheon.

Press

Bastyr University Nutrition Faculty Member Receives Prestigious State Honor

The public is invited to a free community event to explore Bastyr University’s teaching clinic

Teaching clinic earns second consecutive year of stellar results in regional patient satisfaction survey

In the Media

FOX Q13: Bastyr University's Ellie Freeman Discusses the FDA’s New Food Labels
Bothell-Kenmore Reporter: Bastyr Center for Natural Health Expands Integrative Oncology Services
Puget Sound Business Journal: Bastyr University's President Daniel Church to Retire