Last week, my husband was moving our lawn when he bumped into the toy barbecue we keep outside for the kids. Suddenly, he was surrounded by flying, buzzing bugs. He thought they were tiny gnats until one by one they started to sting. Nope, those weren't harmless flies, they were bees--and their home had been compromised. And so they went on the attack. Sixteen painful bee stings and one urgent care visit later, we determined that those diligent worker bees had built a hive in a hole at the bottom of the fake BBQ. Ouch... Luckily, he was fine; can't say the same for the 16 bees that made the noble choice to defend their Queen. That's the thing--most of the time, bees really don't want to bother people. And we know that they do so much good when left alone. 

Did you know there are over 19,000 different species of bees globally, responsible for pollinating 30 percent of the world’s food crops and 90 percent of our wild plants. Bees are absolutely essential to sustain life on this earth as we know it.

For the last 15 years, bee populations have been declining at an alarming rate largely due to climate change, habitat loss and pesticide use. Fewer bees mean fewer crops which not only impact food security, but also the economy and maintenance of a healthy ecosystem.

“Sadly, more than one third of all bee species are facing declines in population and almost ten percent are facing complete extinction,” said Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson. “But the exciting thing is that there are so many tiny actions all of us can do to play a part in protecting bees. Protecting bees is not just the job of beekeepers – we all have a role, and it can start in our own backyards,” Anderson said.

Let’s celebrate National Bee Day (Aug. 17, tomorrow!) by creating thriving habitats for these essential little pollinators. 

Here are 5 easy things we can all do to help bees thrive.

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STEP 1: Put the sprays away!

Pesticides are recognized as one of the leading threats to pollinators worldwide. Garden pesticides can be replaced with natural alternatives such as garlic, onion or salt spray, soap & orange citrus oil or even chili or pepper spray. Remember even natural sprays can harm pollinators so make sure to only use them outside of foraging hours.

STEP 2: Plant bee-friendly flowers

Even if you don’t keep bees, planting a bee friendly garden is something anyone can do.

Find plants that bloom at different times of the year. Support a range of different pollinators throughout the different seasons. Trees and shrubs produce much higher quantities of pollen and nectar; however, smaller plants produce forage more regularly – it’s great to have a selection of both.

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STEP 3: Let your garden get a little messy!

Be garden lazy! Let your veggie and herb plants flower and let the dandelions bloom – the bees get to forage and you get some time off gardening duties – win-win!

STEP 4: Help educate children on the importance of pollinators

Educating children about bees and pollinators is a great way to get them involved with caring for the environment and provides an excellent excuse to get them outdoors and off the screens! If you have a vegetable garden, this can be a fun way to introduce the importance of pollinators – we need them to pollinate one-third of our food crops and 90% of our wild plants.

STEP 5: Become a beekeeper!

Discover the fascinating world and experience how caring for your own colony connects with your local environment. There’s never been a more important time to act.

More Tips on Sustainable Living

1. A Beginner's Guide to Composting 

2. Getting Kids Excited About Your Own Veggie Garden

3. What is Raw Bee Honey

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