“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” ― Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee
I mainly work in encaustic, a medium made from beeswax and resin. It may seem counterintuitive as a choice for my art, but the more I learn about bees, and their keepers, the more I feel grounded in my decision.
Beekeepers are on the frontline for safekeeping the bee population. They make an income by selling honey, wax, and propolis harvested from the hives. I'm not talking about big businesses selling cheap honey - I'm talking about keepers and companies that care about the health and wellbeing of our pollinator population - which is in decline.
These products improve our lives, and we must support those who make a living as caretakers of our little pollinator friends.
I live by natural law: do not take more than you need and give back to balance what you remove. I use honey and wax, and in return, I try to do my part to help sustain our tiny pollinator friends. Matt and I removed all the grass from our backyard and filled it with trees and pollinator-friendly plants. It brings us as much joy as it does our little yard critters (which include Zippy the Chippy and a family of rabbits).
We did hit a snag with our HOA. The heat has been brutal this year, and many of my smaller plants struggled or died, making way for weeds, especially spotted spurge, to explode. It's easy to keep them in check in a garden but almost impossible in a wasteful lawn. I wish we could reseed and allow a beautiful clover grass lawn to flourish, but HOAs don't care and absolutely forbids them. We decided to resod the front with a better product than what the builders supplied when we built our house as a solution to the sterile soil and dying grass. The snag - the company wants to spay our yard to kill off all plant matter, and the sprays will kill the bees. This was a strong no for us.
Luckily, Pike's found a company that will not spray and remedies the issue by thoroughly tilling and removing the infected sod. The manager thanked us and said that most people just don't care. She was alarmed at how every product used will kill bees and its accepted practice in the industry. Now she has an alternative to offer clients.
That makes me happy.
I plan on adding as many plants for my bees as possible in my little backyard oasis. It's a small gesture, but a thank you for providing human[kind] with medicine, medium, remedies, and keeping our food crops alive.
It's something to think about. How can you give back for what you take? Everything has a cost; make sure it isn't too much and make the exchange worth it.
After all, humans, all-in-all, are the biggest problem on this planet. We need to be caretakers and not mindless consumers.