Monday, February 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. National Random Acts o f Kindness Day was started in 1995 in Denver, Colorado to, well, promote kindness. It is a simple concept but one which many of us fail to practice in our modern, fast paced society. We are so “busy” looking at our screens that we barely notice other people…let alone remember to be kind to them. So today, at least, put away the phone and actually focus on being kind to the other human beings around you. In my day-to-day life as the “Queen Bee” here at The Natural Shopper I am naturally focused on all things BEE. Beekeepers, bee hives, bee health,the benefits of bee pollen, Royal Jelly, honey, propolis….I make it my mission to find the best raw ingredients, the freshest raw ingredients, to make our all natural supplements because your health is important to me. Because today is focused on acts of kindness I started to think about how we could be kind to bees and beekeepers. Here are just some of the ideas I came up with.
- Buy honey from your local beekeeper. Most towns,big and small,have a farm market. Buy honey there from your local beekeeper. You are helping them and their hives while knowing you are getting the freshest local honey. If you buy your honey in a grocery store at least read the label. You want to make sure you are ACTUALLY buying 100% pure honey and not mostly high-fructose corn syrup.
- Adopt a beehive. Have you always wanted to keep bees but don’t want to make a full commitment? Many beekeepers will allow you to adopt a beehive. They will bring the hive to you to keep on your property and help you with hive maintenance. You will have the benefit of these amazing creatures pollinating your garden and any fruit trees or flowers you may have, plus you will get to keep some of the honey! Don’t have room for a hive? Many beekeepers will let you adopt a hive on their property. They will lend you equipment and show you the ins and outs of beekeeping plus you will get fresh honey!
- Wherever you live, put some sort of water feature outside. This will help both the birds and the bees in your neighborhood. Bees need freshwater too! Consider putting in a small pond or fountain. Even if you live in a big city you can put a small tin of water on your balcony, fire escape, or even windowsill.
- Don’t mow your lawn…or at least don’t kill the weeds in your lawn with pesticides. Bees thrive on plants that many consider to be weeds such as dandelions. These are an important source of pollen for the bees. Plus think of all the free time you will have if you aren’t spending it on lawn maintenance.
- This one is obvious…but plant flowers! Flowers are pretty and bees love them! There are some flowers bees like more than others such as Bee Balm, Milkweed, Sunflowers, and Lavender. Not sure where to start? The Honeybee Conservancy, which is a non profit dedicated to bees, has some great articles. Here is a link to starting a bee garden. Here is a link to an article about the best flowers for bees. You will have beautiful flowers and you will be helping the bees AND the other pollinators such as the butterflies too.
- Build a bee house or bee hotel! Honey Bees live in a hive or colony but most bees are “solitary” bees. They tend to live in the ground and they lay there eggs in small holes. If you want to attract bees to your yard or garden then building a bee house is a great way to do that. SInce these bees are not defending a colony, they tend to sting much less frequently but they are still great pollinators thus are great for your garden. Bee houses are abundant for sale but are fun and easy to make. Plus you can get wildly creative with them! Here is a basic plan from National Geographic.
- Support businesses that use bee hive products. When people think of bees they tend to think of HONEY…yum! Honey is amazing. It is a natural sweetener, it never goes bad,it is a natural cough remedy….but bees produce so much more than honey in those busy hives of theirs. Bee’s Wax which is used to make candles and is used in lots of skin care products. Bee Pollen is an excellent source of nutrition, contains loads of vitamins, and may help with your allergies. Propolis, sometimes referred to as “bee glue”, is used in skin care products, helps ease burns and in burn healing, and may strengthen your immune system. Royal Jelly has long been used in skin care products, especially high end skin care products plus may help with men and women’s reproductive health. By buying “hive” products and products that use ingredients from the beehive you are supporting not only those businesses but also beekeepers and bees themselves. Keeping demand for hive ingredients high promotes investment in bee education, research into keeping bees and beehives healthy and promotes more people becoming beekeepers.
- Raise money and awareness for bees and bee charities. By now I am sure that most people have heard of colony collapse disorder. Research in to keeping bees and bee colonies healthy and promoting beekeeping is vital because bee pollination is vital to our food sources. But disease is not the only thing threatening bees. Loss of habitat due to urbanization, global warming, and natural disaster is also a major problem. Wildfires in California and Australia not only destroyed hives but millions of acres of land and plant and trees that the bees relied on for pollen. By raising awareness we can help promote more people keeping bees and promet bee health for the bees we already have.
I want to know your ideas on how to be kind to bees and to beekeepers. Let me know in the comments. So today be kind to people AND bee kind to bees!