When it comes to getting your kids interested in an environmental cause at an early age, there are few better than helping to protect local bee populations. Bees play an important role in global pollination, playing a part in 70 of the top 100 crops we all consume every year. About one out of every three bites of food you and your kids eat can be traced to bee pollination. Bees are facing colony loss due to food shortages, habitat destruction, and the use of some industrial pesticides. Without bees, it’s unlikely our food production system could continue in its current state. Protecting bees is paramount to our survival. Here’s how to get your kids involved in this vital cause.
Dispel the myths
The first step in getting your kids interested in bees is dispelling the myth of the bee as a scary, stinging predator. Bees are normally gentle, passive creatures that only sting when they are threatened. Anatomically, stingers are related to the egg-laying structures, so only female bees have stingers. And even females in some bee varieties cannot sting. This means that the majority of bees don’t sting, and even the one who do only do so in rare circumstances. Teach your kids that they should never swat at bees, as this only increases the likelihood of a sting. For more ways to safeguard against stings, check here
Start a backyard garden
If you instill a love of growing plants from an early age, you can create a lifelong love of gardening. Building a backyard garden with your kids is one of the best ways to not only teach them about the cycles of life and how to grow plants, but to also do something to help the local bees. There are five basic rules to building a bee-friendly garden: 1) never use pesticides 2) plants flowers that bees love 3) make sure you have something blooming at all times (know blooming schedules) 4) plant native flowers 5) plant the same type of flowers in clusters. Here’s a guide to gardening with your family.
Try backyard beekeeping
Contrary to popular belief, beekeeping is a fairly easy hobby to begin. Beekeeping equipment is not expensive. Building a beehive is easy, and even buying pre-made hives is not that much of a burden on your wallet. Even protective gear and a bee-quelling device like a smoker are inexpensive. If you involve your kids in the building and maintaining of a beehive in their own backyard, you will show them just how interesting bees really are, and help instill a lifelong love of these vital creatures. Having concentrated bees in your backyard will also help your garden and yes, you will have your own honey. Here are a couple of good guides for beginning beekeepers.
Take a trip to a local apiary
If backyard beekeeping sounds a bit too ambitious for you, you can take your kids on a field trip to a local apiary and watch professional beekeepers at work. Try this online locator to find local sources of honey in your area. Most local beekeepers would be more than thrilled to show your children around their farm.
It’s your job as a parent to make sure your kids become environmentally-conscious adults. To do this, you have to expose them to environmental causes at an early age. This will instill a sense of importance and duty in them that they may have trouble doing themselves, later on. Protecting the bees is a cause that’s going to take global effort across generations, and by showing your kids not only the value of these pollinators, but teaching them how to help, you’ll be doing more than your part.
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com