Our trade show pals, Beevive, take over the blog this month, ahead of World Bee Day on the 20th May. A community-led small business with a big ambition to make the world a more bee friendly place to live!
Beevive's Faye, pictured, shares her top tips on how we can help spread the bee love.
Bees are an important part of our world. They pollinate plants, flowers, trees and have a vital role in providing diverse, balanced high quality food. i.e. every third spoonful of food depends on pollination. Without them we could lose a wide variety of nutritious food such as; broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, strawberries, coffee, apples, almonds and tomatoes – just to name a few!
Whilst there are other methods of pollination, including by wind and other insects, bees are the most effective pollinator because they do this on a much larger scale. It has been estimated that without bees it would cost UK farmers 1.8 billion pounds per year to manually pollinate crops, which is not only un-sustainable but would have a direct impact on the cost of our 5 a day fruit and veg.
In some parts of China pollination is already being undertaken by hand using paint brushes because there are no bees left to do it naturally. We used to think that honeybees were the main contributor to pollination but that simply isn’t the case, all types of bees are important!
Bees face many threats around the World, including the use of pesticides, climate change, parasites, disease and invasive species. It’s said one of the most significant threats to bees and other insects is the loss of their habitat. Since the 1930’s the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows due to intensive farming and expanding urban development. Removing many of these meadows and wild-life friendly areas, leaving nothing behind for our pollinators.
Insect numbers have dropped considerably over the years, in the UK alone we have lost 13 bee species since the 1990’s and a further 35 bee species are currently under threat and now they NEED our help!
World Bee Day recognises the importance of our fuzzy friends and we hope to increase awareness of the need to protect them.
There are lots of things you can do to help – most of which can be done from the comfort of your own garden, balcony or windowsill and will have a positive impact.
Here are Faye’s 5 top tips to #SaveTheBees
GROW WILD & MOW LESS – One of the easiest ways to help bees is to sit back (with a cup of coffee or G&T) and let your garden grow wild. Plant bee-friendly flowers that will blossom at different times of the year, using peat-free compost to save wildlife habitat. Bees love a wide range of wildflowers including foxglove, birdsfoot trefoil and wild marjoram which you can easily grow with a wildflower seedball. Simply scatter, water and watch grow!
AVOID PESTICIDES – We often don’t realise the harm we pose to insects in our garden when using harsh chemicals in an effort to have a beautiful garden. Pesticides are a huge threat to bees and kill many other insects when sprayed onto plants, they are ingested, damaging their nervous system and are fatal. Try to avoid these by weeding by hand and instead seek natural or homemade alternatives only where essential.
MAKE A BEE BATH – Like humans, bees and other pollinators need water as well as food. Providing a small shallow dish filled with water and a few stones or marbles for the bees to perch from is a great way to help! This will allow the bees to perch and access water without falling in. Place your dish low to the ground preferably by flowers as a nearby snack.
PROVIDE A HOME - You can create your own solitary bee-friendly shelter in your garden by making or buying a ready-made bee hotel and fixing it 1.5-2m above ground level in the sunniest part of your garden. Inviting bees into your garden to rest, nest and lay their eggs inside. Similarly for bumblebees you can make a nester from recycled materials and watch bees go back and forth during the Spring and Summer months, I promise you won’t regret it.
HELP A BEE IN NEED – You may often spot a bee grounded not moving or perhaps they’ve flown into your home in a daze? Try first offering the bee a flower to sip nectar from and move out of harm’s way (if on a road or path) using a leaf or twig. If this doesn’t work you can offer the tired bee a simple sugar water solution by mixing 2 tbsp of white granulated sugar with 1 tbsp of water, placing it near the bee for an emergency energy boost! We designed our Bee Revival Kit containing a bee food syrup for those occasions for when you are out and about. They are also a great ‘tool’ to talk about bees and their importance :)
One last positive message to end on - SPREAD THE BEE LOVE
Bee-lieve us, it’s truly infectious and you can help others start their own bee saving journey which they can be proud of. We welcome you to join our buzzing community online to gain inspiration, download free activities and learn more about bees on our blog!