Our pursuit of manicured weed-free lawns and ever expanding agricultural development has created a hostile environment for bees and other pollinators like the monarch butterfly, the Illinois state insect. Beautiful green lawns and cornfields with no violets, clover, or dandelions are virtual food deserts for insect pollinators.
The good news is, we’ve realized our bees and butterflies are in trouble, and we’re doing something about it! It’s in our best interest to do so—we need our pollinators to thrive if we want to continue to eat the food we enjoy today. No pollinators—no food—no exaggeration!
The White House recently released a blog post announcing the publication of a Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The strategy has three main goals:
- Reduce honey bee colony losses to economically sustainable levels;
- Increase monarch butterfly numbers to protect the annual migration; and
- Restore or enhance millions of acres of land for pollinators through combined public and private action.
Here’s more good news—you don’t have to be a scientist or an expert gardener to get involved: this plan calls for all citizens to step up and help save our bees and butterflies. If you’re interested in protecting pollinators, here are two resources you can explore:
- Download a plan for a small garden called a “pollinator pocket” at the University of Illinois Extension website here, along with other tips for making your yard into a healthy pollinator habitat.
- Learn about bees and beekeeping through Parkland College Community Education from expert beekeeper and owner of Second Nature Honey, Maggie Wachter.
And don’t fear bees—you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than stung by a bee!