Bees are precious. And they’ve been having a tough time of it lately.
Did you know there is now a day just for the bees? World Bee Day! This year it was Sunday 20th May. But don't worry if you missed it because we can celebrate bees every day.
Since the late 1990’s farmers have reported sudden and mysterious drop in bee numbers especially in Europe and North America.
Why is this such a big deal?
Because....bees are fascinating and beautiful creatures and the world would be less amazing if they didn't exist.
Also, bees are VERY important to food production and the biodiversity on this planet. Without bees doing their thing, buzzing from flower to flower, many plant species would no longer reproduce.
In fact, one in every three bites of your food requires bees for pollination.
Those sweet organic apples at the farmers market wouldn’t be there without bees. Neither would the juicy mangoes or raspberries. I could probably live without ever eating a turnip again but I know my husband’s life would not be the same. What about coffee? Or apricots? Or cucumbers?
These, along with hundreds of other delicious and everyday foods we take for granted, are brought to us courtesy of the bees’ unwavering efforts.
In short - humans need bees. Probably a lot more than bees need humans!
What’s Causing The Problem?
Well, all the usual suspects....
- Habitat loss due to development and other human activities,
- Pests and diseases introduced from other countries,
- Climate change (causing plants to flower at different times than usual),
- Pesticides (including the ones you use at home) are all causing havoc for our precious bees.
So many challenges for the humble bee to deal with and the only thing those little ladies want to do is go out there and collect as much pollen as their delicate legs can carry. (Fun fact: All worker bees are female **)
So What Can We Do?
Number One: Remember this - We can do many things to help. The situation is not hopeless! Every action we take in the right direction adds up. You matter. Your actions matter. No matter how small. Together we can make the world a better place for all creatures.
Here is a list of easy things you can do to support our precious bees:
- Plant more herbs and flowers in your garden or on your balcony. Otherwise known as honey plants. This is food for the bees!
- Put the poisons away. Even though you are just trying to get rid of some pesky weeds or snails….the bees die too. Many weeds are actually food for the bees like dandelions and clover. Let them grow free! And if you must get rid of weeds, use sustainable methods such as mulching your garden, pull weeds out by hand, or use boiling water to kill weeds.
- Make a bee hotel. These can be made at home or purchased from some garden or eco-centres. These are great for native Australian bees which are more solitary.
- Mow the grass in the late afternoon or early evening instead of in the middle of the day when bees are most active.
- Support local beekeepers by buying their honey and beeswax products. When their businesses thrive they have more financial resources to maintain the health of their hives and tackle any problems caused by pests or diseases.
- Buy organic produce. Organic farmers use sustainable farming methods and don’t use poisons = happy bees!
What's good for the bees is also good for us humans.
Keep buzzing, you bee-utiful thing!
PS: FYI, I use local organic beeswax and honey in my handmade products.
** Guess what the male bee’s only job is. Yep, you guessed it…..have sex with the queen bee. Make of that what you wish....