Save the Honey Bees!

A world without bees?! Bees have been around for years pollinating all the plants and vegetables we eat; but now the bees are dying off because farmers are using chemicals on the plants bees take pollen from. There have been reports about hives just disappearing, a travesty called colony-collapse disorder (CCD). CCD can be caused by pesticides or increased losses due to the invasive varroa mite (a pest of honeybees).
For the last 16 years, thousands of scientists have struggled to figure out why more than a third of commercial beehives have disappeared at a rate of more than 1 million colonies annually. Seemingly healthy communities fly off never to return. The queen bee and mother of the hive is abandoned to starve and die. “This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,” said Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program, in a 2012 interview with Reuters.

From Reuters:
But three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. In the U.S. alone, these pesticides, produced primarily by the German chemical giant Bayer and known as “neonics” for short, coat a massive 142 million acres of corn, wheat, soy and cotton seeds. They are also a common ingredient in home gardening products. Research published last year in  Science shows that neonics are absorbed by plants’ vascular system and contaminate the pollen and nectar that bees encounter on their rounds. They are a nerve poison that disorient their insect victims and appear to damage the homing ability of bees, which may help to account for their mysterious failure to make it back to the hive.
Another study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science and Technology journal, implicated neonic-containing dust released into the air at planting time with “lethal effects compatible with colony losses phenomena observed by beekeepers.”
Purdue University entomologists observed bees at infected hives exhibiting tremors, uncoordinated movement and convulsions, all signs of acute insecticide poisoning. And yet another study conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health actually re-created colony collapse disorder in several honeybee hives simply by administering small doses of a popular neonic, imidacloprid.
But scientists believe that exposure to toxic pesticides is only one factor that has led to the decline of honey bees in recent years. The destruction and fragmentation of bee habitats, as a result of land development and the spread of monoculture agriculture, deprives pollinators of their diverse natural food supply. This has already led to the extinction of a number of wild bee species. The planting of genetically modified organism (GMO) crops – some of which now contain toxic insecticides within their genetic structure – may also be responsible for poisoning bees and weakening their immune systems.
Farmers put chemicals all over their plants without giving a thought to the fact local honey bees are going to pollinate them and take on the sprayed chemicals. 

Honey bees pollinate a lot of the food we grow at Better Farm, like apples, asparagus, and onions. We're going to take the bee issue on head-first by constructing some honey bee boxes to attract these beneficial insects and encourage them to make a comeback. By keeping a healthy community of bees in our own backyard, we can help to repopulate the insects in this neck of the woods—and ensure them a healthy food supply with organic plants that won't hurt them. We'll start constructing bee houses this fall in the hopes that by spring there will be some additional buzzing around the garden.

If this sort of thing interests you, there are plenty of very simple designs for buliding honey bee boxes that will attract these critters to your gardens and yards.

Here's the design we're considering, courtesy of Wikihow:

Click here for more ideas.