GratiTuesday: Busy Bees

Last December, the United Nations General Assembly designated each May 20 going forward as World Bee Day. The purpose of the proclamation was to bring to the world’s attention the importance of preserving bees and other pollinators

I’m not sure if you noticed, but your bees didn’t take Sunday off to celebrate. Nope, they continued to tirelessly work in your yard and in the fields to ensure their important work got done.

Bees play a crucial role in increasing crop yields and promoting food security and nutrition. Without them, we would have ceased to exist long ago. We eat their honey, we use their wax, and we rely on them to help our food grow. Bees are responsible for pollinating nearly 85% of all food crops. A third of all food produced in the world depends on pollination.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of bee species die off each year due to a variety of factors, including disease, parasites, pesticides, and the destruction of their main food sources. As more species die, we will lose crops and, eventually, certain plants will become extinct because they can’t reproduce. The fate of bees can also indicate when environmental dangers exist. Mass bee deaths have been past indications of the use of toxic chemicals, or severe climate changes, giving scientists further proof of how fragile our environment really is. In fact, research indicates that our environment would collapse if honeybees no longer existed.

So, if you didn’t get a chance to thank your bees last Sunday on World Bee Day, today is a great day to tell them how grateful you are for all their hard work. And, even better, here are a few concrete steps you can take:

  • Do not use any pesticides, fungicides or herbicides on plants or in your garden.
  • Plant your garden with native and bee friendly plants. Lawns are bee deserts.
  • Provide water for bees by putting out a little water basin for the bees to drink from during the warm days of summer. Put a few stones and floating cork on the water so bees won’t drown.
  • Buy local and raw honey from your local beekeepers.
  • Educate yourself, your children, and your grandchildren about bees. The Pollinator Partnership is just one source of great information about bees and their importance to our world.

GratiTuesday: Spring has sprung!

Even though most of us in Southern California hoped the predictions of a wet El Nino would come true (and we still have our fingers crossed), the rainfall we’ve experienced has been underwhelming. Except for two memorable days of torrential rain in early January, our winter – overall – has been pretty mild.

On Sunday, when it officially became spring, we were enjoying the same blue skies and mild temperatures we’d had been experiencing for a long time. Regardless, seeing “First Day of Spring” on my calendar made me almost as happy as someone enduring a winter of freezing temperatures and snow would feel.

We’ve been seeing evidence of spring all around us for several weeks. Flowering plants are announcing the new season with cheerful colors and gentle fragrances and trees are starting to burst into clouds of blooms. The bees and hummingbirds are buzzing frantically from one flower to the next as if they are worried it could all suddenly disappear under a pile of snow.

Our Grevillea Long John’s whimsical pink blossoms are a favorite of bees and hummers
Our Grevillea Long John’s whimsical pink blossoms are a favorite of bees and hummers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It looks like we’ll have another bumper crop of blueberries this summer
It looks like we’ll have another bumper crop of blueberries this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even Tiki Mon is displaying spring flowers in his hair
Even Tiki Mon is wearing spring flowers in his hair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am so very grateful for spring’s arrival. It is a magical season bursting with promise, inspiration, and optimism.