Multiple photos of bees in the shape of a hive

Why Bees Are Good for the Earth

Here are some things you can do to help pollinators thrive.

Multiple photos of bees in the shape of a hive

Sustainable agriculture is a key component of our work in 21 countries around the world. When we work to save the bees, we are also saving the environment. After all, what is good for bees, is also good for the climate and the environment.

Honeybees are essential to healthy crops, and their rapid decline threatens global food security. That's why we incorporate bees into many of our projects. Farmers who keep bees see increased crop yields, whether they are growing coffee, spices or vegetables. Plus, they are able to harvest honey during the non-growing season to earn extra income, producing 60 pounds or more of honey each year. 

Why We Need Bees

5 Easy Ways to Save the Bees

It’s no secret these days that bees are extremely important. In addition to being everyone’s favorite picnic guests, bees function as some of the great pollinators in the world. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they feed 80 percent of the crops that we eat including broccoli, apples, asparagus, blueberries and coffee to name a few. They also pollinate alfalfa, a grass that feeds beef and dairy cows. 

Because of their importance to our food crops it is more crucial than ever to support these little buzzing beauties.  Here are some easy ways to help #savethebees (without going full-on beekeeper).

1. Let Your Lawn Get Back To Its Roots

Put down the weed-eater! Bees don’t have any use for that perfectly manicured sea of St. Augustine. They’re over it. They prefer something similar to their natural habitat—a meadow.

Think about letting a portion of your yard go back to its roots. Allow dandelions and clover to grow again (two of bees' favorite delicacies). Not only will you spend less time mowing your lawn, the bees will thank you for it.

2. Just say No to Pesticides and Herbicides

Pesticides and herbicides contain chemicals that are very harmful to bees and other beneficial insects.  Avoid chemical sprays on your plants and yard. Do some research and try some natural, bee-friendly alternatives. Even an herbicide or pesticide that labels itself as "organic" could still be a hazard. So, put down that bottle of Round Up and try some natural alternatives (and use them as sparingly as possible). And don't forget the soil! You can build up the dirt in your garden, clear weeds and attract the beneficial worms with something you probably have in your garage: cardboard boxes.

3. Keep a Bee Garden

You've always wanted a private garden oasis, and now you have the perfect excuse to plant one. The bees need you!

Plant an array of herbs and flowers that attract bees (like mint, lavender, and poppies, to name a few). Ideally, pick flowers that are native to your area and will bloom at different times of the year. Put a shallow container of water in your garden so that the bees have a place to re-hydrate and add some twigs and pebbles to give them a place to land. Make some refreshing beverages with your freshly-planted herbs and scatter patio furniture at random...for the bees. 

4. Shop Responsibly

Supporting your local growers and supporting bees go hand in hand. When you can, buy your fruits and vegetables (and honey) from local farmers through a CSA (community supported agriculture) box or from local farmers markets. The more you can support sustainable, earth-friendly agriculture the better, but if you don't have access, eating organic goes a long way to help the bees!

5. Bee Informed

There are a lot of misconceptions going around about bees and how important they are to the world we live in - it's time to educate yourself!  Here are a few resources that will make you say "Wow. I didn't know that." Throw a little delight into your day and listen to Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. In his episode "How Can We Be Less Rude to Bees?" Everyone's favorite Queer Eye host interviews Prof. James Nieh about the diseases that are killing off our bees, how bees communicate, and how bees are pretty much the only things making sure we get the almonds we love. 

Other Ways You Can Save the Bees

Bees are key to our survival and we can contribute to theirs. Review the articles and resources below to learn more about their plight and how you can save the bees.

Learn more about Give Honeybees to a Family In Need.

Give Honeybees to a Family in Need

Healthy beehives can double fruit and vegetable yields of small farms. Your gift provides a bee package, hive, box and training in beekeeping techniques.

Learn more about Test Your Bee Knowledge With Our Quiz.

Test Your Bee Knowledge With Our Quiz

Test your bee knowledge with this honeybee quiz, and you can earn $0.50 for Heifer.

Learn more about How to Make a Windowsill Bee Garden.
Purple chive blossoms in front of a yellow wall.

How to Make a Windowsill Bee Garden

Have limited space, but still want to help save bees? Plant a bee garden on your windowsill!

Learn more about Read to Feed Coloring Pages.

Read to Feed Coloring Pages

Featuring 11 designs, these printable coloring pages will help your students learn more about specific Heifer animals and gifts they discover during the Read to Feed program, all while creating their own works of art.

Learn more about The Honey Dilemma: How Mexican Beekeepers Are Stuck in a Sticky Situation.

The Honey Dilemma: How Mexican Beekeepers Are Stuck in a Sticky Situation

The beekeeping industry in Mexico is facing a total estimated loss of 10.7 billion pesos ($576 million) a year due to cheaper competition in the form of adulterated honey coming in from other countries. Small-scale apiarists, like those who work with Heifer Mexico, are hit the hardest.

Learn more about Busy Bee: Bee Activity Pack from Heifer for learning at home or school for elementary students.
Cover of the Busy Bee: Bee Activity Pack, bees and hive

Busy Bee: Bee Activity Pack From Heifer for Learning at Home or School for Elementary Students

These busy bees help your students to build skills in math, language arts and problem solving with a maze, color by number, jokes to decode and a hands-on demonstration about pollination!