My View: Making space for bees in our crowded landscapes can help solve food production woes

By Matthew Shepherd and Eric Lee-Mader, Portland Tribune

There are photos and videos circulating on the Web of a crop duster seed-bombing wildflowers to create a meadow for bees that challenges our expectations. What’s a plane usually used for killing insects doing trying to save them? In grabbing our attention, it shines a spotlight onto an important issue: the lack of clean, safe habitat for bees in our landscapes.

Bees and other pollinators touch our lives every day, from the foods and drinks we consume to the fabrics we wear or sleep on. And the service they provide to our environment helps define our seasons: springtime wildflowers, summer berry picking, pumpkins at Halloween.

The threats facing bees include: diseases, parasites, pesticides, habitat loss. It doesn’t matter whether they are domesticated honeybees or native bumblebees; all bees are facing the same conditions wherever they live. Too often, these kinds of problems seem overwhelming, too vast to fully comprehend, let alone turn around.