This year’s theme for Earth Day is “Restore Our Earth,” with the mission to encourage us to preserve our natural resources and improve the health of our planet. Typically, Earth Day events include large gatherings of people helping to clean up rivers and streams or remove invasive plants. With social distancing still in place around the country, the majority of Earth Day celebrations taking place this April 22nd will be mainly online. These include environmental lectures and films (a catalog of official events can be accessed at earthday.org). However, Earth Day is not only a day to bring increased awareness to the numerous environmental challenges our planet faces, but also to work toward improving one’s local green spaces and to reflect on the beauty of nature.
At Bee America, we’re focusing on honey bees and protecting their habitat. The importance of honey bees to our way of live cannot be overstated. Bees pollinate 71 out of the 100 or so crops that we humans rely upon for 90% of our food. Bee America believes that every person can have a positive impact on the health and very survival of honeybees. Our apiary implements the following practices and encourages our customers, neighbors and friends to do the same. By adopting these practices, which can be done in a safe and socially-distant manner, into your own gardening and landscaping, you will do your part to help ensure the future survival of honey bees and their place in our world.
- Plant native plants to grown in your ecoregion. These plants will provide important pollinator forage and protection. Enriching your garden with native plants means you are landscaping with flowers, shrubs and trees that are naturally suited to the environment in which you live. Native plants require less water and aren’t dependent on pesticides in order to thrive.
- Avoid the use of insecticides and use natural pest control instead (i.e., prevention, beneficial insects and nontoxic remedies). Astonishingly, homeowners use about three times the quantity of pesticides as do farmers, which amounts to approximately 136 million pounds of pesticides a year for residential use alone in North America. In fact, residential use of pesticides is primarily responsible for most surface water contamination and the majority of animal poisonings.
- Consider letting certain parts of your yard "go wild" and return to their natural state as they can support more ecosystem diversity.
- Keep your garden well-watered so its flowers produce more nectar (provided you are not under drought restrictions).
- Cut your grass less frequently so that pollinator-friendly plants like daisies, clover and other wildflowers can grow up and bloom.
- Shelter pollinators in your yard by installing bat houses and bee nests.
- If feasible, leave dead tree trunks alone as homes for wood-nesting bees.
- Ensure a fresh water supply—leave out a shallow bowl filled with water and floating wine corks or river stones for pollinators to safely land on to drink.
Bee America is proud to announce that it was just recently accepted to be part of the Maryland Green Registry. The Maryland Green Registry promotes and recognizes sustainable practices at organizations of all types and sizes. Bee America will be part of this earth-friendly effort to build a smarter, greener and more sustainable Maryland by putting proactive environmental practices to work in our family-owned apiary and honey company.