This summer, spend some time saving the bees

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Summer is finally almost here! For most of us here at Boise State, that probably means going home to somewhere warm to swim, hang out on the beach and make the most of the three months we have before coming back to school. For others, it means the end of an era, and you’re likely to never come back here after graduating.

Regardless of which of those groups you fall into, we all have a responsibility to the environment. As many of you have probably heard over the last couple of years, bees are dying at an alarming rate. Most of us might think that this isn’t a huge deal. Bees sting, they’re loud and they don’t do much good, right?

Actually, that’s wrong. Bees are the number one pollinator in nature, and without them, a good majority of foods we love so dearly (almonds, pumpkin pie) would disappear completely. This is a pretty scary thought. I think most of us can agree that we enjoy things like eating, which is all the more reason to find ways to support bees.

This summer, in the midst of all the other fun plans you may or may not have, I urge you to take some time to save the bees. There are a few ways you can accomplish this task.

The first is fairly simple: stop using pesticides that contain neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticide that targets the nervous system of insects, essentially paralyzing them. This issue has contributed significantly to what scientists are calling “colony collapse disorder.” Between 2015 and 2016 alone, the United States lost 44 percent of its colonies, demonstrating the extent to which this problem has spread. The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to not use pesticides made by Bayer. Bayer is the company that most prominently features neonicotinoids in their products, and stopping them from making a profit of environmental degradation is a huge step in saving the bees.

The second thing you can do is plant a garden! That step might also sound easy, but there are a few caveats to consider before going all in on some vegetables. In order for your garden to save the bees, it has to include flowers that are native to your region. The bees in your area have already adapted to pollinate these plants, and it’s a major source of food for them. Additionally, planting flowers not from your region will kill off the flowers that are good for bees. When these non-native species of flower are introduced into your gardens, they invade the ecosystem and damage the well-being of the native flowers. Take into consideration the things you’re planting before you plant them, and do research on what things are ok to plant in your area.

It’s ok to have some fun this summer. Having fun and being environmentally conscious, however, shouldn’t be separate from one another. This summer, have some fun planting a garden or taking down pesticide corporations with your friends, and save the bees while doing it.

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