A team of 4 students from our area who call themselves “The Bee Aware Team” won a $25,000 grant in a national science competition last year. They have partnered with Grandfather Mountain and used these funds to create a “Honey Bee Haven”. Grandfather Mountain is one of North Carolina’s top tourist attractions. With over 250,000 visitors annually they are an optimal place to spread awareness.

We believe that the Bee Haven will be an effective tool in educating the thousands of annual visitors about the struggles honey bees are facing and also in educating them to ways in which they can help. Grandfather Mountain plans to feature the Honey Bee Haven in educational tours to the 2,500 school children who visit every year. They have committed to displaying the team’s brochures and signage in their gift and fudge shops. By ordering our plate you will be helping this worthwhile awareness project.

About 100 crop species provide 90% of food worldwide. Seventy-one of these crops are bee-pollinated. Essentially, all flowering plants need bees to survive. Bees also pollinate trees and plants that provide our nuts, seeds as well as clover and alfalfa that feed our livestock. In 2006 one quarter of the world’s bee population died. Since then bees have continued to struggle, and millions more have died. Scientists have been trying to pinpoint just what’s causing the bee’s decline.

Researchers at Penn State University have found at least six kinds of pesticides in every batch of pollen that bees bring back as food for the hive. Every batch of pollen they tested contained at least six different kinds of pesticides. They have also discovered that a combination of fungicides and miticides disrupt the beneficial fungi that are essential for nurse bees to process pollen into beebread. Something needs to change or bees will continue to decline and may even become extinct. Seeds treated with insecticides, produce poison in every part of the plant, including the pollen. You can help bees and other pollinators by eliminating or reducing chemical use in your yards and gardens.

In 2013 homeowners applied an estimated 78 million pounds of  insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides per year to their homes, lawns, and gardens. A recent study of pesticide exposure among children living in a major U.S. metropolitan area, revealed that traces of garden chemicals were found in 99% of the 110 children tested. It is critical to realize, furthermore, that the vast majority of pesticides are toxic to organisms beyond the targeted pests.

Here are some simple changes you can make to help the bees

DON’T use insecticides, herbicides and weed killers that have been proven to kill beneficial insects such as bees and are highly toxic to our health and our children and pet’s health as well.

  • Use beneficial insects, including dragonflies, wasps, ladybugs, ground beetles and others to eat pests.
  • Form a collar around plants to protect against cutworms, snails and slugs.
  • Cut down tall weeds, brush or grass from around the house and garden and dispose of the clippings.
  • Use diatomaceous earth around the base of plants to protect from slugs.
  • Bait slugs with beer or yeast solution (tsp. yeast in 1c. water) in saucer placed in the garden.
  • Fertilize with compost or organic fertilizers.
  • Pull weeds by hand after rain.
  • Pour boiling water on weeds.
  • Trap ants with 50/50 baking soda and powdered sugar.(the baking soda will kill them and their queen).
  • Diatomaceous earth can be applied directly to pet and home. (wear a protective mask)
  •  To get rid of fleas: Add 10-15 drops of essential oils such as; rosemary, tea tree, citrus to 1c.water and spray over pet.
  • Plant pesticide free flowers ( ones that the seeds have not been treated)
  • Leave native plants to flower.