Written by Skyla Patton | Photo by Trevor Meyer

It’s a scary thought to think of a world without things that we love – especially food! Picturing life without honey, avocados, wine, pears… the horror! Unfortunately, this is a future we’re facing at the alarming rate bees are dying at. Studies have shown that over 44% of the bee population has died since 2015, and is continuing at a rapid speed. If the thought of existing without some of your favorite foods is too much to sit by and watch, you can help! Here’s five ways to help out our pollinating friends this summer.

  1.       Plant Flowers

Bees are losing habitat rapidly across the globe due to urbanization, a devastation that can destroy entire colonies at a time. As simple as it may seem, providing a healthy gourmet for the bees in your area can make a huge difference in their population growth and success. Planting a small garden bed or even just a pot of flowers can provide a safe location for bees to explore, and it’s not exactly hard on the eyes either! Lilacs, mints, and honeysuckle are all bee-favorites and very easy to maintain, even for the least garden-tending people out there.

  1.       Provide an Oasis

Yes, as crazy as this may sound, bees need a pool to beat the heat just like the rest of us! Dehydration and heat exhaustion can happen to our insect friends just as easily as our pets and even us sometimes. Setting out a bird bath (or even just a bowl with water in it) in the shade of your yard can give bees the extra boost they need to take the bacon back to the dinner table. If you want to get really nice about it, place some stones or pebbles inside of it that poke out of the water surface so they have somewhere to hang out, too!

  1.       Buy Local

Although it may have an extra dollar or two tacked on, buying produce (and honey of course) from your local farms can make a huge difference in the life of a honeybee. Often you’re buying directly from a beekeeper, which guarantees not only some delicious honey, but also ensures you’re contributing to the continuation of the bee population. On top of this, buying local means you’re not buying from larger companies who (frequently) use the products that can be damaging to the bees. It may cost an extra dollar or two, but you’re effectively a bee savior!

  1.       Adopt A Hive

If you’re not quite ready to strap on the space suit and maintain a hive on your own, you can do the next best thing, and ‘adopt’ someone else’s! Many local beekeepers offer this program or one similar to it, where you can annually fund a beehive in exchange for raw honey – and the knowledge you’re doing something awesome. The fee is usually nothing extreme, and sometimes you can even have the opportunity to visit your bees to see how they’re doing and learn more about the process!

  1.       Don’t Squish Them

As intimidating as they can be, don’t kill them when they invade your space! Honey Bees are vegetarians (yes, really) and will only sting if they feel violently threatened. If they’re bothering your soda can or buzzing past your head, just ignore them and they’ll continue on their way. They’re also big on smells, so often they’ll land on you just to sniff you out and then carry on with their day. They can smell pheromones, including the ones that humans release when they feel anger or fear – just stay still and let them do their thing! Learn the difference between wasps and honeybees so you know which ones to avoid and which ones to protect.