#MIKidsCan Save the Bees

They get a bad reputation thanks to their ability to sting you, but honeybees are a key player in pollinating flowers, fruits and vegetables. If bees went away, our food supply and natural environments would be drastically affected–and the scary thing is that they are disappearing at alarming rates. The good news is that you and your kids can do your part in helping out our local bee populations with these simple ideas and fun activities:

  1. Plant bee-friendly flowers. Bees are losing their food supply because bee-friendly, pollen-rich flowers are disappearing. By planting native flowers on your window sill and in your yard, the bees will have more places to fill up on pollen (and you’ll have a more colorful landscape!). Some beautiful plants to add to your garden include poppies, lilac, rosemary, lavender, fuchsia and hydrangea.
  2. Support local farmers and beekeepers. Just like we need a variety of fruits and vegetables in our diet, bees need a wide range of feeding options. An easy way to ensure lots of different crops are planted nearby is to shop at farmers markets and buy local produce.
  3. Eat local honey. While you’re at the farmers market, pick up some local honey. It’s not just a delicious alternative to other sweeteners, it also supports local beekeepers who create safe environments for bees to thrive. You can try tasty dishes such as this kid-friendly snack or drizzle it on grilled fruits for a summery dessert!
  4. Stop weeding. It’s okay to keep a few dandelions in your yard! They happen to be a good source of food for bees throughout the spring and summer. And while you’re at it, try not to use pesticides in your yard–they can weaken and kill bees.
  5. Create a bee fountain. It turns out that tired bees love sugary water, so quench your backyard bees’ thirst with a small water stop. Just add some white granulated sugar or organic sugar, not artificial sweeteners or honey, to water, place it in a shallow dish, and add a few rocks for them to perch on.

The next time you see a bee buzzing around you and your kids, don’t swat at them. They are on an important mission to help our ecosystem flourish. Think about visiting a local beekeeper with your family to learn more about how bees and other little critters play a vital role in our environment.

Photo credit: Daniela

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