Bees are essential for the ecosystem as they pollinate plants, stimulating new growth. As well as flowers and trees, bees pollinate cereal crops, fruits, vegetables, and nut plants that form the basis of the human diet.
However, bee populations are in decline due to climate change, urbanization, and the use of poisonous pesticides. The problem is vast and global, which can lead to people feeling hopeless or disempowered to make a change. However, saving the bees is something everyone can help with. Every positive action, big or small, can have an impact on the bee population. Overall, it’s important to save bees!
LEARN HOW TO SAVE BEES
PLANT A BEE GARDEN
Why are pollinator gardens important?
Bees collect nectar from flowers to make honey. Whilst doing this, they gather pollen from flowers and sprinkle it on other plants as they fly. The sprinkle leads to pollination and new growth. Providing a garden full of bee-friendly flowers such as lavender, sunflowers, marigolds, peonies, and snowdrops will attract bees and provide them with much-needed nectar.
Bees are also attracted to certain herbs, such as mint, chives, thyme, sage, and rosemary, so you can plant an herb garden to both help the bees and provide your own kitchen with fresh, tasty ingredients. If possible, plant your bee garden in a warm shady spot, and plant the flowers and herbs close together. Be sure to water them regularly to help aid the production of nectar.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BEEKEEPING
Beekeeping is a fun hobby and a great way to help protect the local bee population. However, in some urban areas, too many people are keeping bees. This causes a negative impact on the local bee ecosystem. Urban areas lack the plants and flowers bees need to survive, so the bees have to compete for resources. In addition, beekeepers typically keep just one species of bee, the domesticated honeybee. An insurgence of a single bee species in an area where there is limited nectar can drastically affect biodiversity; some smaller wild bee species may fail to thrive. If you want to keep bees, consider talking to a local wildlife charity first to ensure your hobby won’t have a harmful impact on the ecosystem.
BE CAREFUL DISPOSING OF IMPORTED HONEY
Bees are attracted to honey, but imported honey can make local bees sick, so when disposing of the empty jar make sure to wash it thoroughly. If placing the jar in an open recycling box, try to cover the neck of the jar to prevent bees from flying in.
The best way to support local bee populations is to buy local honey from farmer’s markets or beekeepers. However, locally sourced honey tends to be more expensive than store-bought varieties, so many people choose to buy imported honey from the supermarket.
REVIVE EXHAUSTED BEES WITH SUGAR
When you see a bee lying on the pavement, it is likely exhausted and in need of energy. How to save bees from dying in this situation is simple. Make a sugar-water solution using 2 parts granulated white sugar to 1 part water. Make sure you do not use any more water than this to avoid the risk of drowning. Place the solution on a dish or spoon beside the bee and watch it take a drink. Avoid using brown sugar or sweeteners as these may harm the bee. It might seem logical to give the bee a spoon of honey instead, but unless this bee created the exact blend of honey you buy, you could risk making it sick. White sugar and water is the safest option and should revive the bee successfully.
RAISE YOUR VOICE
There are many campaigns and petitions trying to protect bees. Some of these campaigns are linked to the wider issue of climate change. For example, reducing global warming should have a positive impact on bee populations. There are also some specific causes that you can get involved with. One includes petitioning local authorities to plant more bee-friendly plants in public parks and green spaces. This will help increase the amount of nectar available to local bee populations. There is also a global conversation around pesticide use. Many pesticides are harmful to bees, but the laws and guidelines around using them vary. Joining a petition, protest, or lobby group can help to prevent pesticide use where it might harm bees. If you want to join a movement you can check the website Save the Bees.
The decline in the bee population is closely related to climate change. It is also linked to the future of the human race, as without natural pollinators, the production of food is likely to become difficult and more expensive. While the urgency of the situation can feel overwhelming, it is important to remember that every individual person has the power to make a positive change. Whether it’s sparing a corner of your garden to grow bee-friendly flowers or dedicating time and energy to campaigning, you have the ability to make a difference.