One of the newest projects at the Center for Sustainable Development, or CSD, is bee keeping! Over the past year we started saving bee colonies that would otherwise be exterminated from domestic properties around Eleuthera. You could say that CSD is creating a bee sanctuary close to our campus. At the moment we only have three bee hives, but our goal is to have 50-100 hives flourishing on South Eleuthera. It is important for CSD to protect and raise bees because pollinating is vital for agricultural success. Time Magazine reported in 2017 that “more than 700 North American bee species are declining as habitat loss and pesticide use continue at a breakneck pace.”
Without bees, many food crops would fail. According to The Nature Conservancy, “the monetary value of honey bees alone as commercial pollinators in the United States is estimated at about $15 billion annually with them doing almost 80% of all crop pollination. Without them, farmers and consumers could potentially be at a great loss.” Therefore, if the Cape Eleuthera Island School wants to have a completely food sustainable campus, we NEED bees!
There is a lot to know about beekeeping and making sure your bees have all the tools they need to live healthy and happy lives. If you choose to have your own hive at home, a hobby that is growing ever more accessible, make sure you do plenty of research beforehand. There are a number of websites to help get you started learning about bees and beekeeping if you choose to pick up this new hobby. However, having your own bee hives in your backyard is not the only way you can help support and grow the bee population.
A great way to help the bees is by planting vegetation that will help them produce their honey. This is not only beneficial for the bees, but the bees will help the plants flourish which will make your garden look amazing. It’s a win-win!
Bees are attracted to flowers and plants based on color, scent and appearance. If you are looking to start your own herb garden, planting lavender, catmint, sage, thyme, fennel, and chives are among the best for bees.