Well, here we are guys! Part 5 of our Save the Bees series (here's part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4). I'm absolutely blown away by the support I've received from everyone so far - it’s been heartwarming to see everyone's pledge to join in on this important mission.
A quick recap
For those of you who haven't been following along, in September I attended attended ShiftCon on behalf of YBC. It was at this conference that I found myself participating in a discussion panel lead by Tiffany Finck-Haynes. Tiffany is a Food Futures Campaigner for the Food and Technology Program at Friends of the Earth and gave us a super informative presentation that educated us on what’s been happening to the bees in our very own backyards. Her panel covered everything from recent die-off reports to why this is happening and who’s responsible along with tips and tricks we can do to help save the bees. I'm so excited to be sharing all the eye-opening knowledge I gained from her and the rest of the team at FOE.
I've also met Jay Williams along the way, Jay is the proud owner of Williams Honey Farm in Tennessee and has decided to partner up with YBC on some exciting projects and has given me some great first-hand knowledge for this series.
Throughout this series we’ve discussed the extremely important role bees play in our ecosystem and the growing seriousness of Colony Collapse Disorder in recent years. I also touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of who and what is responsible - hint hint, petrochemical companies like Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto and their patented pesticides like RoundUp. Plus we discovered just how far these money-hungry pesticide corporations will go to spin the truth behind the bee decline to, of course, protect their precious profits (the neonic global market is $2.6 billion dollars) and stay in the good graces of the global population.
There's good news though. Even if you are not a beekeeper, there are plenty of ways that you can get involved. Jay Williams and I worked together to create a list of 6 different ways you can have a positive effect on the bee decline:
How to help save the bees
1. Stop using harsh chemicals in your backyards! Teach your kids that the answer is not dumping more chemicals. Treat your backyard like a pet. Love it and let it grow. Treat it like a member of the family. If you can’t eliminate these chemicals outright, try your best to reduce or limit the amount of pesticides you use while plants are in bloom and bees are foraging.
You should also know that natural pest control can be beneficial as well. Natural pest control is less expensive than buying and applying pesticides, and it's safer for your garden, your family, the natural wildlife and the environment. Each year North American homes use approximately 136 million pounds of pesticides on lawns and gardens, and in the home. In fact, homeowners use about three times the amount of pesticides as farmers. 
2. Plant bee friendly perennial flowers and plants instead of planting grass. It’ll mean less work and less mowing! Ok, ok...maybe you don’t have to fill your entire yard with bee friendly plants but just dedicating a little section of your lawn to bee-friendly plants can make a big difference for your local bee population since a perfectly manicured grassy backyard has no benefit to wild bees. If you’re like me and live in an apartment complex, you can look into buying or making your own little bloom box for your front steps, window sills or balcony. Our friends at Williams Honey Farm started building “bloom boxes” for people packed with beautiful perennial flowers that alternated bloom periods to feed pollinators like bees and butterflies from March through November.
If you decide to make a bloom box of your own, be sure to pick out plants and flowers that are native to your state or geographic location - especially ones that attract and benefit pollinators. You might also want to be aware of each flower’s bloom period so that you’re maximizing the amount of feeding available for the bees. If you don’t have any space for a bloom box, do some research on local community gardens where you might be able to rent a small piece of land.
3. Spread Seed Bombs! Seed Bombs are easily one of the coolest and easiest things you can do to make a difference in saving our pollinators. Simply take the seed balls and throw them, chuck them, kick them, plant them in your backyard or in an area crying for attention! They will self-germinate and create a beautiful flower for years to come. No work, no fuss, no hassle.
If you’re wondering where you can get your hands on some, our friends at William Honey Farm has them available in their shop, but you can also make your own at home too! In our final series I’ll show you how with a fun DIY your entire family can get in on.
When you purchase seed bombs from Williams Honey Farm, you are doing more than just buying a cool product. You are helping feed beneficial insects that desperately need our help. You also be joining the PolleNATION: a collection of people also known as “Polleneers” that have made a commitment to take back our backyards and protect our struggling pollinators. Also note, as part of their GIVE BACK promise, for every 10 Seed Bombs purchased, Williams Honey Farm donates 1 Seed Bomb to a school aged child to plant in their own backyard and communities. That’s pretty cool if you ask me!
4. Stop buying honey from your grocery store. Instead buy it from a local beekeeper that will tell you how he/she raises their bees (chemical free). Jay let us in on a little secret, too! He tells me that the cloudier the honey the better. Cloudy honey typically has more pollen in it. Pollen is the good stuff you don’t want to miss!
5. Buy local, organic foods like fruits and vegetables that help support local beekeepers in your area.
6. Raise native bees! Native, or Solitary Bees, are an amazing edition to anyone’s back yard. They are fascinating creatures also called Mason Bees or Leaf Cutter Bees. They are incredible pollinators that can help double or even triple the yield from your vegetable gardens. They take little to no work to keep (about an hour a year), they very rarely sting (males don’t even have stingers), and most of the time you won’t even know they are there! And even if you did get stung, it would feel about the same as a mosquito bite (not to shabby!) and another important thing to highlight is that these bees will not cause an anaphylactic reaction that occurs with most people who are allergic. Jay reassures me that the nest looks just like a small birdhouse and they’re safe around kids and pets in high traffic areas. Best of all? they’re immune to the majority of pest and diseases that are killing our honeybees.
Williams Honey Farm has partnered with an amazing bee breeder and are now the exclusive provider of these type of bees in Tennessee - they even have have Mason Bee Kits available that provide everything you need (including bees) to get started. Below you can see a picture of one of the bees that hatched out in Jay’s hand earlier this month. If you'd like to start a hive of your own, Jay was kind enough to create a discount code for you guys - use code YOGABYCANDACE for 10% off your own Mason Bee Kit!
7. Spread the word. Share the image below to help spread the word about how others can help save the bees! It takes little to no effort to pin, share or email this post and the word will get out to all your friends and followers.
Of course, there's always the option to donate a little money to causes that really do help save the bees.
- Bayer has long been going to extreme lengths to protect its bee-killing products so lets help our friends at FOE break through their misleading messages to win the fight against their sleazy PR campaign by donating here.
- Our friends at Soulful Essence have decided to donate a portion of their proceeds from the sale of this Lip Butter Kit help to Save the Bees!
- Williams Honey Farm has partnered with Nashville area schools and is proud to announce that for every 10 Seed Bombs sold, 1 Seed Bomb is donated free to an area student to bring home and plant in their own back yard. To have your school considered for their next Polleneer Site please contact them.
- You can sponsor a hive through The Honeybee Conservancy by visiting their site here.
So what do you guys think? What, if anything, are you planing on doing to help save the bees - sound off in the comments below!
 Eartheasy. "Natural Garden Pest Control." Natural Garden Pest Control: Safe, Non-Toxic Methods & Solutions. Eartheasy. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. <http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_cntrl.htm>.