June is full of meaningful occasions, like graduations and Father’s Day, but it also marks National Pollinator Week. It’s a time to bring awareness to the vital role bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators play in creating a diverse, bountiful food system. In fact, honey bees pollinate one out of every three bites of food we eat — and they’re in serious trouble. This Pollinator Week, will you join in the fight to safeguard our valuable pollinators? Here are five simple ways you can get involved to help bees:
1- Know the issue
With so much conflicting information available online, it’s important to take pause and get to know an issue from credible sources. Pollinators provide an incredibly valuable service on farms, and in ecosystems, and they’ve been dying off in droves for several years. What’s to blame? Several factors, according to independent scientists, including habitat loss and exposure to widely-used pesticides like neonicotinoids (neonics) that weaken their immune systems, scramble their ability to navigate and even kill them outright.
In order to grow the diversity of foods that many of us have come to enjoy — including favorites like apples, almonds, blueberries and cherries — we need pollinators. All kinds of pollinators. With honey bees dying off at a rate of a third or more each year, this is very serious issue! And a body of evidence points to neonics and other systemic pesticides playing a key role in this alarming trend. Honey bees and other pollinators like wild bees, birds and butterflies need our help.
2 – Take action to get neonics off the market
Pesticide Action Network works in partnership with many other groups to address bee declines and there are many ways to get involved. To start, contact your Representative and ask for their support of the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (SAPA). If passed, this bill would pull bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides from the market until their safety is proven — a simple but significant step in addressing pesticides’ impact on declining bee populations.
Also you can help spread the word by joining for a Pollinator Week Twitter Chat on Wednesday, June 17. At 5pm PT / 8pm ET, join bee advocates from across the country to help #BuildTheBuzz for pollinators.
3 – Create a Honey Bee Haven in your yard
In your backyard or on your balcony, create a safe harbour for bees and other pollinators. How do you create a Honey Bee Haven? It’s easy: pledge to avoid using bee-harming pesticides, grown bee-friendly plants so they have a variety of food and shelter, and provide a year-round, clean source of water. To learn more about creating a happy home for bees, and to see the map of havens across the country, check out HoneyBeeHaven.org.
4 – Advocate for your city to become a Honey Bee Haven
Once you know the issue, have taken action online and set up your backyard haven, keep the momentum going and see what’s happening in your city to protect bees from pesticides. Many cities have passed local ordinances that acknowledge the importance of bees,reduce their exposure to pesticides and provide needed habitat. Municipal action also helps increase awareness of issue and helps build momentum for change at the federal level. You can find a sample resolution here.
5 – Stay engaged
Bees need all the help we can give them. This is a dynamic issue with new evidence linking pesticides and declines continuing to emerge. Keep on learning and stay tuned for new opportunities to engage! More cities and states are taking action, and we’re even seeing some movement from federal decisionmakers. Join the PAN community for action alerts and timely, well-informed blogs or visit www.panna.org/bees for more details.