Bees and the Future of Farming


Bees are endangered species, right?

So why do you constantly see them at your local park or in the city? There is a perfectly good and reasonable explanation for this:

Bees do better in urban areas than in rural areas. Part of the innovative farming movement is about moving to farms from more rural areas to urban farms utilizing techniques like rooftop farming. If properly implemented, innovative farming methods could allow bee colonies to flourish without harmful toxins such as pesticides interfering.

Currently, if you go to a traditional farm, you’ll see someone using a pesticide treadmill designed to spread toxic chemicals in order to manage insects and weeds. Many of these farming irritants have become increasingly resistant to pesticides. The current solution is to increase the amount of pesticides used.

Studies show that the increase in pesticides is affecting bees negatively. The bumblebee queen is six times more likely to die after having been exposed 37 days prior to pesticides. Furthermore, the surviving bees produce only a third of the eggs and a fourth of the larvae of untreated queen bees. Bumblebees contribute to us in many ways from pollinating the Earth to the crops we eat and wildlife such as grizzly bears. There are numerous plants that depend on the bumblebee to help them reproduce by buzz pollination. Without bumblebees, these plants will die out at the same alarming rate. Some of the plants that would be endangered are cranberries, tomatoes, and peppers.

Traditional Agriculture is taking a turn by pursuing urban agriculture. Farmers are now considering agriculture on spaces like city rooftops, small backyard plots, and in vacant lots as a way to produce more crops. This would, in turn, better protect the bumblebee. When farmers go to the city they can use fewer pesticides than they would in a rural area. For instance, rooftop farming provides extra insulation for buildings to reduce energy use for cooling and heating and captures precipitation. Backyard farming uses a raised planter box filled with produce. The technique helps to add local food to the community. Lastly, vacant lot farming is where a farmer repurposes the lot for gardening and promoting healthy food.

The agricultural move to cities could have a major positive impact on the bumblebee and our current means of food production and distribution. There are a ton of factors that can impact the bee populations such as maintaining an abundance of flowers in urban parks and gardens for buzz pollination. Even having open compost and being more tolerant of mice and voles help bees out immensely. It is important to not using pesticides and weedkillers as they affect the bees’ lifespan. The average person could do this all in your backyard or balcony with ease. What you can expect in return is more diversity and the number of species in the area.

You should now have a better understanding of why bees are important and how urban farming is better for bees’ lifespan. Katif sees how we can take a stance in order to protect these creatures. We play an important part in our environment and lives. Katif believes that we should help keep and better the urban environments they live in.

Conserving Bumble Bees. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://xerces.org/bumblebeeguidelines/

Williams, T., Miller, M. L., Hausheer, J. E., Miller, M. L., Roseth, K., Millgate, K., . . . Feldkamp, L. (2018, October 03). Recovery: Bringing Back Bumble Bees. Retrieved from https://blog.nature.org/science/2017/07/11/recovery-bringing-back-bumble-bees-endangered-native/

Pesticides 101. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.panna.org/pesticides-big-picture/pesticides-101

GRACE Communications Foundation. (n.d.). Innovative Agriculture. Retrieved from http://www.sustainabletable.org/251/innovative-agriculture

What is Backyard Farming? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.thebackyardfarmcompany.com/what-is-backyard-farming

Person. (2018, July 05). Bees are thriving more in cities than the countryside, new research finds. Retrieved from https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/countryside/a22018111/bees-thriving-cities-than-countryside-new-research/

Bodkin, H. (2018, June 27). Bees have evolved to be city dwellers and prefer urban areas to countryside, study finds. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/26/bees-have-evolved-city-dwellers-prefer-urban-areas-countryside/

Urban Landscapes & Pollinator Diversity. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://worldbeeproject.org/urban-landscapes/