By Jon Christie
Bees and other pollinators are an essential component to the health and function of our environment. Managed honeybee colonies alone contribute over 16 billion dollars of economic value to agriculture in the US. It is estimated that 30 percent of the food we eat is entirely dependent on bee-pollinated plants.
Unfortunately, pollinators are in decline worldwide. Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine — our pollinators are giving us a warning we should heed. Fortunately, there are ways we can promote and encourage pollinators in today’s challenging environment:
• Create pollinator nesting habitats: Visit xerces.org for more information on some simple ways to construct nesting sites.
• Create pollinator friendly gardens: Include plants rich in high-quality pollens and nectar to nourish visiting pollinators. Visit pollinator.org for a list of beneficial plants native to your region.
• Practice and promote organic methods and avoid all of the “-cides:” A growing body of research suggests that not only insecticides but also herbicides and fungicides are affecting our pollinators.
• Get involved: Support the Xerces society and other pollinator organizations. Join your local beekeeper association (visit wncbees.org) and support your local beekeepers and initiatives like Bee City USA.
• Become a beekeeper: Wild Mountain Bees is a local source for honey, bee products, bees, classes and beekeepers supplies.
Wild Mountain Bees is a family owned business located at 425 Weaverville Road. We offer honey products, pollinator friendly plants and seeds, bee-related literature and beekeeping supplies, workshops and events.
Jon Christie is a beekeeper and the owner of Wild Mountain Bees.