“If we go, we’re taking you with us,” is how Lisa Broward, master beekeeper and naturalist, introduced our May program on the importance of bees to humans. Lisa entertained club members and several guests regarding the amazing social culture of bees and their vital task as pollinators.
Bees are responsible for pollinating one-sixth of flowering plants in the world, and about 400 different types of agricultural plants. They help keep the food chain flowering and producing food. Consider that honeybees pollinate fruits, vegetables, herbs we use to season our foods, nuts, berries, cotton for clothing, clover and alfalfa, which is the main feed for the cattle industry from which we get yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy and beef. Also, coffee beans depend on pollination for increased yields. We depend upon bees for holiday flowers, beeswax, which is used in the cosmetic industry, not to mention honey!
Worldwide bees are in decline for a number of reasons classified as Colony Collapse Disorder, including stress from being moved across country, loss of habitat, herbicides, pesticides and varroa mites.
Let’s help preserve bees. Plant a pollinator-friendly garden patch of any size. At minimum, Lisa suggested planting African Blue Basil. Switch from pesticides to organic alternatives, and use vinegar and water as a weed killer. Provide a water source such as a shallow bird bath with rocks in it.
If you see a swarm or have a colony of bees which has taken up residence in an unwanted area contact a local beekeeper for removal.
After Lisa’s presentation she invited us to taste a variety of her local honeys, such as orange blossom, palm, saw palmetto and gallberry.