Did you know that bees are responsible for pollinating approximately30 percent of the food we humans eat? While we’re binge-watching Netflix, they’re hard at work. Without their efforts, delicious fruits and vegetables, such as cucumbers, apples, cantaloupe, watermelon, blueberries, and pumpkins, would no longer be available to us.
Unfortunately, honey bees are under attack. Due to the varroa mite, unsustainable mono-agriculture methods, and pesticides, hive populations are decreasing. Urban development and industrialization are also threatening the insects. According to the initiative City Bees, the insects are having to fly longer distances which, in turn, is shrinking their numbers.
While steps are being taken to curb the first three threats, few know about the fourth factor. It is for this reason the initiative developed Bee Saving Paper. The biodegradable product looks ordinary, but it functions like a bee energy drink.
For the project, City Bees partnered with paper craftsman and etymology experts Saatchi & Saatchi IS Warsaw, Manufaktura Papieru Czerpanego w Kobyłce. Inhabitat reports that the Bee Saving Paper can be used in a variety of products, such as bags, coffee cup sleeves, and picnic tables.
The paper is comprised of an energy-rich glucose and seeds from the Lacy Phacelia plant. It is finished with a water-based UV paint and is decorated to look like flowers, to attract the bees. Not only is the product not sticky, it feels like ordinary paper.
Said project senior creatives Tomasz Bujok and Anna Gadecka: “We’ve managed to develop and produce what is probably the first paper nature would not only like you to use, but maybe even to drop. We know our innovation won’t solve the worldwide problem of the declining bee population by itself, but we hope we’ll at least make people realize how important bees are to us.”
The Bee Saving Paper is presently undergoing testing. In the near future, the designers hope to work with large brands to mass produce the paper. Learn more at Bee Saving Paper.
5 Ways You Can Help Save the Honey Bees
Are you inspired to take action in your own area? Great news, it’s more than possible! There are many ways you — and others — can help the bumbling insects. They include:
1. Plant Bee-Friendly Foods in Your Garden
Consider planting crops that honey bees love. Mints, beans (except French beans), and flowering herbs are bee attractants. The buzzing insects also adore daisy-shaped flowers, tall plants like hollyhocks and larkspur, and Willows and lime trees. For a full list of plants that bees adore, click here.
2. Encourage Local Elects to Use Bee-Friendly Plants in Public Spaces
Because insects can become feisty when their homes are threatened, public officials have thought it best to avoid planting bee-friendly plants in public spaces. But times are changing, and the honey bees’ importance is now well-known. As a result, you can petition local authorities to plant flowers, shrubs, and trees that are attractive to the insects in open spaces and public gardens. National Geographic suggests that if officials claim the city lacks resources, gather a group of volunteers to maintain the gardens.
3. Help to Protect Swarms
Have you ever seen a bee swarm? Upon first glance, it can look scary. However, it is a very natural process which allows colonies of honey bees to increase their numbers.
If you see a swarm, contact the local authority or the police. They will reach out to a local beekeeper to collect the swarm and take it away. If needed, encourage onlookers to avoid provoking the bees, which can make them aggressive.
4. Grow Flowers Year-Round
To attract bees to your garden, plant a variety of flowers. According to The Spruce, bees are attracted to blue, purple, white, violet, and yellow colors.
You can also cultivate native plants year-round. Whereas some bee species are active all year, others are buzzing around only in April and May, or others in July and August. Having a garden in bloom year-round will ensure the bumbling insects have a chance of survival.
5. Go Chemical-Free
Pesticides are harmful to your family’s health, the environment, and wildlife (which includes bees). For this reason, you should practice chemical-free gardening.
There are many natural “insecticides” that won’t harm your health or the bees. As PETA points out, chives, marigolds, mint, basil, and cilantro will deter aphids. You can also place aluminum foil at the base of your plants; the light scares away aphids. To shoo ants away, pour a line of cream of tartar where the little guys enter the house. They will not cross over it. Lemon juice and mint also deter ants.
If grasshoppers are pestering your plants, simply spray garlic oil wherever you don’t want them. Or, plant calendula or cilantro. Slugs can also be a hassle; to combat them in a conscious manner, place mint, lemon balm, pine needles, cosmos, sage, or parsley in your garden. Believe it or not, human hair collected from a hairbrush also scares slugs away! Learn more from PETA here.
Finally, you can practice “companion planting” to deter pests. This technique involves adding plants that attract natural pest-eaters. For instance, plant garlic to deter aphids and basil for healthy tomatoes. Maintaining healthy soil to support the plants’ immune systems will also help.
Honey bees are vital to our ecosystem. To create a better planet for future generations and to protect the insects from going extinct, please comment your thoughts below and share this article.
All Image Source: Bee Saving Paper