Save the Bees (All of Them)
by Alex Binck
Now for the bad news. While it’s hard to assess the conservation status of a tiny group of insects almost no one notices or pays attention to, for the few species that have been assessed, such as bumblebees, the trend is one of precipitous decline. Some species which were common only a few decades ago have vanished almost entirely and, until recently, no one had noticed. How many of our 4000+ species are now facing a similar fate? No one knows.
So what are we to do about this? The most important factor affecting bee conservation is habitat destruction. While many forests and mountains are now preserved, wild meadows and open spaces continue to disappear. Native pollinators once lived in the brushy and weedy edges of every small farm across the nation. Today most of those places have been replaced with miles of corn and soybeans or housing developments with manicured lawns. Those few bees who survive this destruction are faced with toxic pesticides and exotic diseases spread by the commercial bee industry, which ships bees across the country and across the world. The solution is simple. Buy your food from local farmers who know that plowing every inch of their fields, spraying with toxic pesticides, and importing inputs from across the world are bad ideas. And think of the bees when planting your gardens!
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