Apex is Becoming a Bee City

Environmental activism has been a hot topic lately with the international student walk-outs and Greta Thunberg’s amazing, heartfelt speeches. On the local level, it can feel impossible to make a difference, though. We all know the “three R’s” (reduce, reuse, recycle), but where do we go from there? The Town of Apex has new committees helping to lead the way for change. The new Environmental Advisory Board of Apex works with the Town Council to make policy and/or ordinance changes related to the environment, especially related to the impacts of development upon the environment. Under this advisory board are two committees: the Bee City Committee and Tree Citizen Advisory Panel, also known as TreeCAP. Both are working to ensure that bees and trees respectively are being taken into consideration as Apex continues to grow and develop.

The Bee City Committee is currently working towards making the Town of Apex an official Bee City with Bee City USA. There are currently one hundred and four Bee Cities nationally, nineteen of which are located in North Carolina. To be an official Bee City, towns and cities must create a resolution filled with commitments to create sustainable habitats for native pollinators. This can take the shape of community gardens, bee hotels, educational events, etc. The committee, who had their first meeting at the end of January, is comprised of staff liaison, local beekeeping experts, and community activists.

Native pollinators are pollinators that are native to the area, including solitary bees, butterflies, and bumblebees. While we tend to start the “save the bees” with honey bees, because we can directly profit from them, they are actually invasive and threaten native pollinators, including bumblebees. The Bee City Committee wants to bring together local honey beekeepers with the general population so that we can all learn how to be better stewards to our native pollinators.

The next steps for the Committee will be forming their resolution for Bee City USA, and they have plans to attend upcoming town events to spread awareness. More information for specific events will be updated on the Town of Apex Bee City Committee website.

Here are some more ways you can support native pollinators at your own home:

1. Pollinator Gardens

In your gardens, yards, and planters, plant flowers and plants that attract and benefit native bees and pollinators. Plants to consider including are clover, indigo, buttonbush, mountain mint, goldenrod, climbing aster, milkweed, and much more. Make sure to include plants that bloom throughout the year to offer pollinators a food supply all year.

2. Nesting Places and Bee Hotels

Bee hotels aren’t the hives that honey beekeepers have, they are a set of rods/reeds set up for solitary bees to nest in. Of the four thousand bee species native to North America, many don’t have hives. They live solitary lives nesting in hollow pieces of wood or underground. Most bee hotels are made of blocks of wood with holes drilled in or stacked reeds but can be made out of almost anything. When setting one up, make sure you read up on the upkeep of your bee hotels so that cells don’t become overcrowded.

3. All Natural

While no one wants best such as June Bugs, but pesticides typically don’t just affect the intended pest but rather can wipe-out entire populations of native pollinators. If a pesticide is needed, do the research on the least harmful and most directed kind so as to have the least collateral damage associated with the use of the pesticide.

4. Bare Ground

Mulch can be expensive, so save a couple of bucks by living some bare ground. With such tiny properties in Apex and even tinier yards, maximizing on available space is important. Ground nesting bees make tiny burrows underground to lay their eggs and need exposed ground to do so. The bees don’t create hives, and many don’t even have stingers, so little ones will still be safe to play in the yard.

5. Committee Meetings

Committee meetings are open to the public and your attendance and involvement are what make town committees function. These committees represent the public, but without your support, nothing can get done. Voice your opinions, offer your support and ideas, and volunteer to help with events and activities that the committee is organizing. The public’s engagement with local government is what makes a town effective and connected. For more information on upcoming meetings refer to the Town of Apex’s website.

There are many ways to get involved and become an active environmental steward, from actions at home to involvement in local government. Your engagement is vital to the success of environmental movements, which our world depends on. How will you make a change?

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