It was a hot summer day and my little girls had just gotten out of the kiddie pool. They were sitting at their miniature table on towels having tea and crumpets. The “tea” was watered down apple juice and the “crumpets” were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into tiny triangles.
As they ate, our massive Golden Retriever guarded them from the bees who were trying to get a nip of their juice. She’d sit regally next to their table and bite, swallow and shake her head every time she got one. This made the girls giggle, but it made me a little worried. I was afraid Lucy’s mouth would swell up after getting stung so many times, but she seemed completely unaffected. She obviously wasn’t the one I should have been worrying about…
Sitting on my patio twenty years later drinking my coffee and reading the paper, I can still see them. The memory is vivid, and I search my yard for proof those sweet tea parties happened here. Like a detective opening a cold case, most of the evidence is long gone. The kiddie pool along with the little table and chairs were passed on to a neighbor and our Lucy’s been in doggie heaven for close to fifteen years now. My girls are grown and although they visit, tea and crumpets are no longer on the menu.
There’s just one thing I can’t explain
…. Where did all the bees go?
To me, it feels as if the bees disappeared more recently. Years after those little tea parties, when my youngest was in middle school, she’d sit at the patio table and sporadically jump for no reason yelling, “Bee, bee, bee!” She’d run in circles to get away from them while the rest of us laughed, trying to explain that the bees wouldn’t hurt her if she just ignored them.
Around that same age, my oldest would run thru the yard chasing the Monarch Butterflies.
She’d sneak up behind one gently picking it up by the wings and bring it to us so we could see its bulging eyes and long antenna.
Just as quickly, she’d release it and we’d watch it flutter off just to settle on one of the potted plants.
These days there are few to none of these pollinators seen in our yard and when I do spot one, they’re tiny. Thing is… I’m not alone. Seems like me, there are others out there missing these necessary little guys and they’re challenging us to help bring them back.
The National Pollinator Garden Network… yeah, this is a real group… has proclaimed June to be Pollinator Month.
This week from the 19th thru the 26th they are asking us to participate in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge to help increase the populations of honeybees, native bees and Monarch Butterflies.
You can visit their site and take on the challenge.
Of course, you don’t have to “officially” join the challenge to help bring back the pollinators. All you have to do is plant some of the stuff they love.
I’ve made it a point to plant more Cone Flowers (Echinecea) for the butterflies, Bee Balm (Monarda) for the bees and Chokeberry for the birds. We’ve even added another bed to our vegetable garden and a bubbling fountain in hopes more bees and birds will come back to our yard.
I knew pollinators were necessary, but did you know one in every three bites of the food we eat comes from these guys doing their work? I don’t want to bring you down, but life without pollinators could get bleak!
So, do ME a favor this summer: make it a point to look around.
They say change happens right in front of us, as in our own back yard.
Hanging out on your porch or patio? Tell ME, how many bees are hovering over your flowers? Heading out on a summer road trip? Tell ME, are you cleaning your windshield as much as you used to?
Yeah, I know, it’s not the way we want to notice if there’s any pollinators left but really, look around! When was the last time you saw more than one small bee or a Monarch Butterfly bobbing about? How about a Hummingbird? Tell ME, have you seen any of those lately?
I can’t bring back those days of my girls giggling at the dog and drinking their tea. Kids grow up and move out and any empty nester will tell you… they come back. While I miss my Lucy dog, we still have Loretta (our white Golden) to ward off any “danger”. Now I just wish I could have saved the bees when we thought a dog eating them was funny and I wonder if they’ll ever come back.
– Germaine Caprio, MAJAMAS EARTH Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
What do you do to protect pollinators?
Please share your own thoughts with ME – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS® EARTH garment this week!