As a gardener, you are probably already aware of bees and other pollinators' role in supporting a healthy garden. However, you might not realize that they are critical to our entire ecosystem worldwide! There is growing concern over declining bee populations and what this could mean for life as we know it!
A significant decline in the bee population was first noticed in 2006. At first, this was attributed to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, where most of the worker bees in a colony suddenly disappear, leaving behind the queen, immature bees, and a few nurse bees. However, further research has stated that the decline has been attributed to a variety of stressors on the bee population, including overuse of pesticides, pollution, destruction of habitat, and aggressive agricultural practices.
One of the main reasons that concern is growing about the drastic decline of the bee population is that the humble bee is considered a keystone species. But what does that mean? Keystone species are species that other species in the same ecosystem depend on for survival. They seem small and insignificant, but bees are by far the most vital keystone species on Earth! They influence almost every other animal on the planet. If they were to die out completely, our way of life would change drastically.
Honeybees travel considerable distances in search of pollen, and it is because of this that we get to enjoy many of our favorite food crops. As they travel from one place to the next, pollination takes place, fertilizing our food crops. Without bees, we wouldn't be able to eat things like cucumbers, cherries, apples, and citrus fruits. Pollination also helps to produce various berries, nuts, roots, and seeds. These are not just items many of us humans include in our diet, but they also help feed other birds and animals. Without bees, this food source could be lost unless we resorted to manual pollination!
Fun Fact! Bees are the most dominant pollinators of crops visiting more than 90% of the 107 species of crops grown worldwide. It has been proven that 75% of those crops produce better yields when pollinated by bees!
Now that you know how important Bees are to our ecosystem, you probably want to know how to help save them! The great news is, it is super easy to play your part! Creating green spaces filled with flowers and vegetation provides vital resources for our bee friends! Ask your local garden center in Farragut, TN, to recommend plants that are known to attract pollinators. Options like daisies, coneflowers, and asters are popular choices. You can also help by avoiding the use of pesticides wherever possible.
If you want to take a step even further to help the bee population, then why not research backyard beekeeping and start your own hive!
Northshore Nursery is Knoxville's premier destination for all of your landscaping and horticultural needs. Our certified Proven Winners Garden Center is a hidden gem that sits off Northshore, just west of Choto Circle, and features approximately 10 acres of annuals, perennials, compost, topsoil, trees, shrubs, and other landscaping and gardening essentials for both professional landscapers and home gardeners!