A vast majority of bees are disappearing. So, why the fuss?
Bees are very important little creatures. They are responsible for pollinating a third of the world’s crops such as fruit and vegetables. Without them, we’ll begin to notice a massive decline in foods – honey will no longer be available. Prices of products will also rise dramatically, as there won’t be enough supply.
Around 90% of wild flowers and plants are also pollinated by bees; they provide nectar and pollen throughout the year. Without the bees, plants will struggle to reproduce and the fruits from which many animals and insects depend on will also struggle to survive.
What’s killing them?
For a while, the reason for their disappearance was deemed a mystery. But now, three obvious factors have been named the cause of this.
The use of insecticides seriously affects bees. They hinder their memory, their flower and nest recognition abilities as well as their navigation skills. Their immune system is also affected as bees become more vulnerable to diseases and parasites.
2. Global warming
Due to the rise in temperatures, flowers and other plants are blooming much earlier and therefore affecting the natural synchronisation between bees and plant life cycles.
3. Habitat loss
The destruction of their natural habitat poses a danger to bees. The increasing need of more agricultural land means the destruction of our countryside, forests, woodlands, fields and hedgerows which are vital for not just bees, but other pollinators as well as animals too. Bee colonies have also deteriorated due to the changes in the agricultural techniques due to the demand for increased food production, and have led to two types of bee species to become extinct in the UK.
What can we do to help?
- Learn more about them
Kew Gardens have an amazing exhibition going on called The Hive, which gives us an insight into the secret life of bees. The structure is made to highlight the importance of pollinators. Inside the structure you can hear a buzzing vibration going all around, and this is to represent bees communicating with each other inside a hive. Bee vibrations are important as it can help predict when a loss of bees from a swarm is about to occur.
2. Support organic produce
Visit Farmer’s Markets and buy fruit and vegetables which have been grown organically. There are many markets like these across the UK and many of these also sell honey. Buying local honey also helps bees as they are not produced by large production companies who undervalue the importance of bees.
3. Have a bee-friendly garden
Attract these wonderful creatures rather than reject them. Plant wild flowers and let some weeds flourish, as these are also wild flowers and a source of food for bees.
There are seasonal wild flowers that will help bees pollinate as well as make your garden or window boxes look pretty. And since we’re in Autumn, I thought I’d give you some examples of these (recommended by Kew):
- Ivy and hebes.
- Mahonia shrubs and cyclamen.
- Primroses, pussy willow and crocuses.
- Lavender and daises.
“To the bee, a flower is the fountain of life, and to the flower, the bee is a messenger of love.” – Kahlil Gibran.
4. And finally, spread the word!
Raise awareness by telling a friend about the dangers bees face everyday and of the things they can do to help. Talk about it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc., and protect these amazing buzzing creatures.
I’d love to hear what you guys do to help bees.