There's a quote on the homepage of the Bee Saving Paper website attributed to Charles Darwin: "The life of man would be made extremely difficult if the bee disappeared."
He was right about that. When a Whole Foods store pulled all the food out of the produce section that relied all pollinators, 52 percent of the department's foods were carted away to illustrate the devastating hit our food system would take if bees disappeared.
Darwin may have recognized disappearing bees would make life difficult, but could he have ever imagined the day would come when bees would disappear?
We've known for over a decade now that these helpful pollinators are disappearing. Some species are now on the endangered species list in the U.S. — an unfortunate first. There's evidence that heavy pesticide use is contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder. All over the world, bees are dying in record numbers and the reasons why are many.
Industrialization and urban development are part of the problem. When there are very large areas where no food available for bees, they have trouble making it from one energy source to the next. One creative attempt to combat this particular bee problem is Bee Saving Paper. This biodegradable paper works like an energy drink for bees, giving them the nutrition they need to fly to the next plant to pollinate.
The biodegradable paper has glucose and seeds in it, and it's painted with a water-based UV paint for bees. The bees are attracted to the paint because it mimics a meadow full of pollen. They snack on the paper, and the glucose gives them energy. When the paper biodegrades, the seeds can grow into Lacy Phacelia, a favorite plant of bees. A year after the paper is left on the ground, the plant can appear, nourishing bees for years to come.
There's already been a successful field test of the paper when a Polish beekeeper who has lost over 95 percent of his hives used it as labels for his jars of honey.
There are many ways the paper can be used. It can be made into bags, paper plates, coffee cup sleeves and more. When the paper has finished its first use, it can be placed in the garden to become food for bees — one of the only times throwing paper on the ground is a good idea.