Boulder Bees: How Boulder is Handling the Bee Crisis
It is common knowledge that the bee population across the world is in peril. Which is no small thing, considering their importance. At least a third of all of the world’s food supply relies on the pollination habit of bees, flowers, of course, rely on bees, and in fact most kinds of fruit and berries and general plant life would cease to exist without them. In recent years, the largest contributor to the death of these fuzzy insects has been insecticide, something humanity may only be learning too late as the numbers of bees on our planet continue to dwindle away.
However, there is still hope for the bees, and of course Boulder, Colorado is home to dozens of different bee communities who are all working toward the same goal, befriend the bee. As it happens, Boulder itself has been a major honey producer since the late 1800’s. Our climate and our local plant life are very attractive to the average bee, which has presented an opportunity to the city to now give back in the bee’s time of need.
The Boulder County Beekeeper’s Association runs a blog discussing all of the latest legal battles and victories across the country, and across the world with a helpful forum for beekeepers young and old to discuss their challenges and share their secrets to a larger community. They have classes for new beekeepers and meetings to discuss upcoming changes and the latest programs, the next one coming in early July.
Local government is getting involved too in what is called the Bolder Pollinator Garden Project. It is exactly how it sounds; special bee friendly gardens are being established around the city to encourage our local counts of wild bees in the area, and any and all gardeners willing to help out can add their locations to the list. The gardens have special requirements beyond simply being a garden. The project’s website encourages the use of local plant life, flowers that bloom all season, of course, but also a safe place for bees to find a nest, and reminders to provide lots of food for local caterpillars, since butterflies are also major pollinators. The biggest requirement though would probably take form in the ban of any kind of pesticide use on your garden. Currently, there are six gardens around the greater Boulder area that are contributing to the cause.
Boulder’s private sector also has a stake in the survival of bees, including one local honey producer called Highland Honey. They produce the kind of honey Boulderites love: raw, medicinal, delicious. They also have information on their website about beekeeping and common facts about their bees and their product that the public should know. They offer mentoring, as well as a place to buy certain kinds of bees and bee keeping supplies, and are truly trying to give something back the community.
The luckiest part of all of these people working together, is that we stand the chance of making a real difference to the bee community, and it’s easy to find a way to get involved no matter how much you want to do. Every little thing matters, from growing a garden, raising caterpillars with your children, and stopping the use of pesticides on your own land. And if your interest goes beyond casual and you’re looking to become much more involved in the local bee community, there are many facets for you to jump into, and maybe even become a new beekeeper yourself.