They are vital to our entire eco-system and they are currently under threat due to climate change and global warming. We need bees as they provide the essential pollination of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats. However, there are many things we can do in our very own gardens that can help save these important insects.
Both the Honey Bee and Bumble Bee play a huge part on the polination of lots of different crops, allowing us a variety of food to be put on the table, from fruits and veg to meat. In the UK, there are 25 different species of Bumble Bees, this may seem like a lot, but unfortunately, three species are already extinct, two are critically endangered and many more are seriously declining in numbers.
Many fruits and vegetables that we enjoy day-to-day require pollination as part of their development process. These include: avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash, and sunflowers for oil, cucumbers, citrus fruit, peaches, kiwis, cherries, cranberries and melons.
The pollination from Honey Bees also have a huge impact on the meat industry as well, as they pollinate clover and alfalfa which cattle feed from. They are also many processed foods which uses these ingredients as well.
As well as the above, Honey Bees also play a very important role in pollinating crops such as cotton and flax. Beeswax is also a bi-product widely used in beauty products.
So what can we do to help them? According to the Bee Conservancy, there is lots!
1. Plant Bee-friendly flowers
These easy-to-grow flowers include:
- Hardy geranium
But there are many more! Visit https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/plants-for-bees/ for more inspiration on the beautiful variety of flowers which attract bees.
2. Go chemical free
Synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, and neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, wreaking havoc on their sensitive systems. Use organic products and natural solutions such compost to aid soil health and adding beneficial insects that keep pests away like ladybugs and praying mantises.
3. Give Bees some trees
Did you know that bees get most of their nectar from trees? They provids hundreds — if not thousands — of blossoms to feed from.Trees are not only a great food source for bees, but also an essential habitat. Tree leaves and resin provide nesting material for bees, while natural wood cavities make excellent shelters. With deforestation on the rise, help tackle climate change in more way than one!
4. Create a Bee bath
Bees work up quite a thirst foraging and collecting nectar. Fill a shallow bird bath or bowl with clean water, and arrange pebbles and stones inside so that they break the water’s surface. Bees will land on the stones and pebbles to take a long, refreshing drink.
5. Create a home for Bees
Wooden Bee houses are becoming increasingly easier to purchase and a very low in cost. Places such as garden centres and farmer's markets will sell these, as well as online shops.By having one of these, even in the back of your garden, it provides a safe haven for bees, giving them home or at minimum, a shelter.
Bees are incredible creatures that never look to seek harm on anyone. They provide so much for us and are getting so little in return due to climate change, global warming and deforestation. Even if you can do just one of the above things, you're part of the fight to save these poor beesfrom existinction.