Fellow eco-mama Karin Ascot brought to my attention that Monsanto, blamed with causing colony collapse disorder, purchased Beeologics, one of the world's leading bee research firms. This disorder is threatening our global food system.
* Learn about bees
Texas Bee Watchers encourages people to learn about local bees and plant bee-friendly gardens. You can watch Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees telling us?" called the 2011 "Feel Good Advocacy film of the year." It is and alternative look into the problems and solutions of the global honeybee crisis by Taggart Siegal. You can also network with other bee enthusiasts at an Austin Urban Beekeeping Meetup group.
* Provide habitat/food for bees
Texas Bee Watchers not only encourages the planting of bee-friendly gardens, which has plants that bloom in succession throughout the year, they even certify Official Certified Texas Bee Garden status. Urban BeeKeeping in Austin also teaches about bee gardens, nest boxes and more.
* Buy local honey
Goodflow honey is right here from Austin and can be found at most grocery stores. Round Rock Honey sells at Farmers' Markets. A search of EdibleAustin.com turned up Fain's Honey – Natural, raw, Texas Honey from Llano. There is a directory of bee and honey products on Urban Harvest. I couldn't make the distance filter work but maybe you can. I did find Hippychick's Gardens wildflower honey in Bastrop.
* Become a beekeeper – Raise bees
Round Rock Honey offers Beekeeping Classes. Like I said above, you can connect with other bee enthusiasts via the Austin Urban Beekeeping Meetup Group
* SAVE BEES
If you have unwanted bees on your property, don't call an exterminator – call a bee wrangler who will help relocate your bees, like Central Texas Bee Rescue and Preserve.
Local beevangelist Walter Schumacher has been working to make Austin more bee friendly. He approached the City and helped craft a approach to problem bee calls that gives first priority to removal rather than extermination. Walter's nonprofit Central Texas Bee Rescue will remove bees from your property if you do not want them there.
You will be happy to know that, in part due to Walter's advocacy, the City of Austin has revamped its policies to be more bee friendly.
1) If someone calls 311 with a bee problem they will first be referred to services that offer removal and relocations instead of extermination.
2) If someone calls 911 and fire or police are sent out and there is a bee colony, they first and foremost ensure human safety, but rather than their only tactic be to spray the hive with foam, now there make efforts to get the bees/hives relocated.
3) Andy Moore of Council member Martinez' office also informed me that there are efforts to get bee hives included in community gardens, including ones that will be on parkland. They are still working with PARD on safety and liability issues, but it seems like the happy symbiosis of bees pollinating plants that will feed people is on its way to reality.
We have not gone so far as being a "no kill" city re: bees, (as our Animal Shelter is committed to), but these are big steps in the right direction. Yay Walter. Yay Austin!