This week I want to talk about Bees! I am someone who is strangely fond of bees, Bumble bees in particular. Not just because I find them oddly friendly and unquestionably cute, but because I realise their importance in our day to day existence. Honey bees, and most other kinds of bees, are essential pollinators which enables us to have the vast quantities of food we eat every day. Bees are estimated to contribute £400 million to the economy, and 1/3 of our food is dependent on their pollination.
As the summer is in full swing I have noticed more and more of these littles fellas working away and I wanted to give them a shout out for their hard work. As I have shown bees are essential for our food production and are a large contributor to our economy. But unfortunately they are hardly recognised for their hard work and many populations are currently under threat. In fact, 35 species of bee are in danger of extinction. It is in our interest to do something to help them and to understand why they are being put at risk. So why are honey bees in danger? There are a few reasons, one being the use of harmful insecticides on crops which are attractive to pollinators such as bees and another, the effects of the varroa mite. The varroa mite is a parasite which infects the bees and causes their wings to deform, This leads to entire hives of adult bees collapsing. This is not only an important issue for the conservation of bees but also for humans, as bees play such a vital role in our food production.
What can we do to be more environmentally conscious and help our friendly worker bees? There a few things that you can do at home to help your bumbling bee visitors. Help them by making your garden more bee friendly. This doesn't mean that you have to do some serious landscaping or make a major trip to B&Q for supplies, but rather take a look at what old pots you have or space in your garden and see what would be practical for you to include. Bees need three things, food, shelter and water. If you have the right plants growing you have made a fast food restaurant for your little buddies to stop by during their days work. Why not allow some patches of grass or plants to grow a bit taller and give them somewhere to hide, if you can, leave a little water dish by their favourite plants. You can even make or buy a bug hotel to help other pollinators as well!
Some bee friendly plants include ivy, sage, poppies, lavender, heather, rosemary, white clover and many more. Let me know what you have done to be more bee friendly...