KUSA - With roughly 150 hives of his own, Colorado State Beekeepers Association President Ed Colby knows a thing or two about the honeybee (or really any species of bee - and there's a lot of them).
Did you know there are more than 500 bee species along the Front Range?
But, many of those species are in danger due to a lack of forage, pesticides and parasites, Colby says.
"Bees can starve to death," he said.
We asked him about all of this after a story of a Cheerios campaign to #BringBackTheBees went viral across news stations (including ours) Wednesday.
Areas for bees to feed on - and pollinate - have decreased as native vegetation has been replaced with mono cultures such as corn and wheat for farming. There are simply fewer flowers for pollinators to visit, Colby explained.
Cheerios' campaign aims to mail out 100 million wildflower seed packets for people to plant in their own gardens to help bolster honeybee populations.
As of Thursday, they'd already mailed out that many seeds - but you can still request a packet.
"Any time you can plant flowers that bees like to visit that's a good thing," Colby said.
Honeybees are generalists meaning they visit tons of different kinds of flowers, so just about any flower you plant (without pesticides) will be good food for bees to visit.
Beyond what bees eat, honeybees are critical for our own bellies, as well.
"Honeybees are really important for food that we eat -things like almonds and apples," Colby said, adding that the list goes on from there.
There are many stresses on all kinds of bees in today's environment. There's the lack of forage, pesticides, and a certain parasite called the Varroa mite which attacks the types of bees found here in the United States.
They're unable to withstand the parasite.
It's a great time to consider planting some bee-friendly vegetation as pollination is just getting started!
When planting flowers for honeybees, it's extremely important to pick seeds that are pesticide (or insecticide) free. Check your labels!
For a Colorado-friendly list of ways to help the honeybees (as well as the best flowers to plant for them), visit the Colorado Beekeepers Association website.
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