It's a very cold winter and as I sit in my warm home my thoughts turn to my bees. I hope they survive the winter. Over the last few years we have ordered bees through the mail and Marisa caught a wild swarm.The odds that bee colonies survive winter have decreased dramatically. According to the USDA, annual losses from the winter of 2006-2011 averaged about 33 percent
each year, with a third of these losses attributed to CCD by
beekeepers. The winter of 2011-2012 was an exception, when total losses
dropped to 22 percent.
The dramatic drop in bee colonies is known as Colony Collapse Disorder. There are theories as to why bees are disappearing but no one knows for sure. Why should we all be concerned about this?
What can you do to help combat Colony Collapse Disorder? More than you might think.
- Plant a garden. The easier it is for bees to find nectar and pollen, the less stress they will have. Some of the best plants include red clover, foxglove, bee balm, joe-pye weed, and other native plants.
- Start a hive. It isn't as hard as you might think. In our prior home we had neighbors that lived on .12 acres that had a hive in there yard.
- Support beekeepers by buying local honey from them.
- Sponsor a beehive. There are many organizations that allow you to sponsor a hive. My cousin and his wife recently sponsored a hive in an underdeveloped country for my Aunt's birthday. Not only does that help the bees, it also helps the family that manages the hive.