Preppers talk a lot about gardening because the ultimate preparation is being self-sufficient, or mostly self-sufficient, in a way that lasts for generations. However, we’re never truly self-sufficient because we are always dependent on Earth’s systems. For example, we need it to rain, we need sunshine and we need worms to break down organic matter so soil builds up nutrients. We even need things that are hard to appreciate like spiders, vultures, snakes and sharks. And…bees.
By now you probably have heard something about a bee crisis. From writing about backyard beekeeping on this blog, we learned that “colony collapse disorder” was behind the phenomenon of the disappearing bee. I can’t say that it really hit my radar until a friend of ours reported that her garden had produced absolutely zilch this year because it didn’t get pollinated by bees. What a sobering thought. No matter how much effort you put into your garden and your self-sufficiency scheme, if the bees don’t come there will be no fruits or vegetables.
Around here we like watching TV shows and movies about what happens when supply chains and systems fail because it keeps us on our toes as we prepare for emergencies. However, the actual reality of a world without 75% of the crops we depend on is not entertaining. It’s extremely disturbing.
Colony collapse disorder is a huge problem, one that we’re all going to eventually feel the effects of. That’s why it makes sense to educate yourself on what’s going on, what the theories are about why it’s happening, and what we can do about it?
Here are some things you can do to help:
- Become a backyard or rooftop beekeeper. Check out beginner materials from Backyard Hive or similar or look for a class in your area.
- Donate part of your yard or garden to a beekeeper who needs the space. Here’s a list of some beekeepers in the U.S.
- If you see a swarm of bees, call your local backyard beekeeper. (Swarms are not dangerous if you don’t aggravate them.)
- Plant bee-friendly plants such as mints, anything from the daisy, sage or lavender family and any tall flowers like hollyhocks, giant zinnias or sunflowers.
- Support local beekeepers by buying local honey. Check out your farmer’s market.
- Teach your kids that bees need their space but they are an important part of what makes our world go round. They aren’t to be feared so don’t kill one unless you have to.