Garden Science

How to help the bees

The time has come for us to help the bees. For the first time in history this week, seven species of bees have become classified as an endangered specie, and have been added to the US federal list of endangered and threatened species.

The yellow-faced bee (whose official specie names are, Hylaeus anthracinus, Hylaeus longiceps, Hylaeus assimulans, Hylaeus facilis, Hylaeus hilaris, Hylaeus kuakea, and Hylaeus mana) is only native to Hawaii and plays a huge role in crop and plant production for the island and surrounding area.

Their numbers are falling due to dwindling habitats and human development, and in my opinion is something that we shouldn’t take likely over here in Europe, and well, across the world.

Bees are incredibly important for the global eco-system and here’s why.  The next time you sit down for a meal, look at what you’re eating. The chances are, bees have played their part in creating that meal.  As a pollinator,  they’ve ensured the pollination and production of the fruits and vegetables on your plate, and also the food for the animals/meat that we eat.

Sadly, the unsung hero of our time, the humble bumblebee is dying off thanks to pesticides, disease and the loss of habitat.  It’s our duty as living creatures to act now in order to ensure our own survival and to save the bees.

Plant seeds and grow plants that encourage pollinators. 

How to help the bees | RHS Perfect for Pollinators symbolWhen you next buy a packet of seeds look for this symbol.  This symbol means that the plant you’re growing is great for encouraging bees and other pollinators. This is an RHS symbol, and you can read more about pollination, why it’s important and what you can do to help here.  You should also encourage your local authority to plant bee friendly flora in parks and other public spaces.



Buy local honey

Check out the UK Local Honey Directory to find your local honey supplier.  Opting for local honey means that your honey hasn’t had to travel for miles to get to your kitchen, but also covers the beekeeper’s cost of production. Local honey is also kept as is and not tampered with to pro-long shelf life.  Imported honey may also carry spores and other diseases that may have an impact on the bees in your local area – so always be sure to wash and rinse your empty jars thoroughly.

Behave when you see a bee (beehave!)

That’s not a typo – if you see a bee, don’t kill it. If you see a bee that looks like it’s in trouble, offer it some sugar water. If you see a bee hovering in front of you, stay calm and try not to flap your hands around. Bee friendly and beehave people!

Know your local beekeeper

You may come across swarms of bees who’ve colonized in a place that may not be convenient for you. No need to panic – click here to find your local beekeeper who will find them a nice home.

Become a beekeeper

If you’re toying with the idea of keeping bees, then by all means do it. The British Beekeepers Association has some fantastic resources on how to start looking after your own hive. Click here to learn more about keeping bees and becoming a beekeeper. Collectively more habitats means more bees.

If you simply Google “How to help the bees” there’s a tonne of information out there that you can cherry pick from. This article from the Guardian also has some really helpful pointers on how you can help the bees and encourage the growth in their population.

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