Can We Save Honeybees By Buying Free-Range Beef?

Can We Save Honeybees By Buying Free-Range Beef?

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Stephanie Barlow
Jul 20, 2011

Last week, The Atlantic published a smart connect-the-dots piece proposing a simple solution to preserving wild honeybees: to save the honeybees, save their habitats. And where do wild honeybees love to roam? Big open fields full of grass and flowers. Now you can probably guess how free-range beef fits into this picture. But is it really that simple?

It sounds simple: buy free-range beef, save honeybees. So-called rangelands are an important ecosystem vital to honeybees and other pollinators. Well-maintained rangelands provide enough regrowth so that grasses don't shield flower plants, and the fields are important nesting and pollination grounds.

In California, which has the largest farm economy in the United States, one-third of the value of their agriculture requires pollination. And rangelands used for livestock grazing happen to be conserved in a way that encourages honeybee nesting, growth, and pollination. And one of the ways to keep these rangelands thriving is by supporting and purchasing the free-ranging cattle that help keep these lands intact. Sounds like a no-brainer now, doesn't it?

Read more: A Way to Save America's Bees: Buy Free-Range Beef at The Atlantic

Related: Weekend Meditation: On Vandals and Honeybees

(Image: Flickr user Ryan Wick licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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