Sep 09, 2021
7 Ways to help save the Bees!
It's September, which means Bee Aware Month! A month dedicated to our favourite little friends! For the last 12 years, this month has been celebrated – all thanks to ApiCulture.
In this article we share some fun bee facts, explain why bees are important, bee-friendly plants, the top bee books, and 7 ways you can help save the bees!
”Bees are a sign of well-functioning ecosystems.”
- José Graziano da Silva
Bees play a crucial part for the world in many ways as they are our key pollinators.
Nearly three quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food and a third of the world’s food production depends on bees.
Globally there are more honeybees than other types of bee and pollinating insects, so it is the world’s most important pollinator of food crops, and it has been estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day realised on pollination mainly by bees.
They support the growth of the trees, flowers, and other plants which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small. While in many countries, bee populations are in decline as they are impacted by disease, pests, climate change etc, here in New Zealand our honeybee population is healthy and continuing to grow.
Bees are responsible for the production of many seeds, nuts, fruit, and berries
Bees earn their reputation as busy workers by pollinating billions of plants each year, including millions of agricultural crops. In fact, pollinators like bees play a key role in one out of every three bites of food we eat. Without them, many plants we rely on for food would die off.
Pollination is crucial because many of our vegetables, fruits and the crops that feed our livestock rely on it to be fertilised, so without it, we could go hungry. Vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and cucumber rely on the pollination of bees, as do apricots, strawberries, apples, tomatoes and almonds.
As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small. Bees contribute to complex, interconnected ecosystems that allow a diverse number of different species to co-exist.
There is no doubting the importance of bees to our food supply. Without them, our gardens would be bare and our plates empty. But we should also remember the other reasons bees are important to the environment.
7 ways we can work together, to help save the bees:
Buy honey and support your local beekeeper
By buying honey of a local beekeeper, you help keep yourself and your local community healthy. When doing so, you support local beekeepers and their bees.
Plant bee-friendly plants
This is one of the easiest ways to help the bees as sadly, the bee population numbers are dwindling all over the country, so gardeners are being urged to think carefully about encouraging bees back into their garden by planting flowers and plants that provide food and shelter for the bees.
The following are all great options;
Annual flowers: calendula, marigold, sunflowers, poppies, cosmos, hollyhocks, fox gloves, echium, clover, nasturtiums.
Perennials: comfrey, dahlias, echinacea, geraniums, aquilegia, gladiolus.
Shrubs: Californian lilac, buddleia, echium.
Climbers: honeysuckle, clematis.
Fruit and vegetables: blackberry, cucumbers, pumpkin, courgette.
Herbs: bee balm, borage, coriander, rosemary, thyme.
Provide shelter for bees
Bees need to nest and hibernate, just like most invertebrates. You can create your own shelter, or you can even purchase a readymade ‘bee hotel’. Hang these in a sheltered spot in your garden that is nice and sunny!
Have shallow water available
Bees need water to survive, just like us! Providing water for them is crucial, however if the water container is too deep, they may drown! A good idea is to place some pebbles, floating wood, or small stones in an outdoor bird bath. Bees cannot swim, so ensure that whatever you do they are able to have access to the water without treading water.
Help bees in need
If you spot a solitary bee in need, often they are exhausted and are in need to a pick-me-up. You can do this by mixing two tablespoons of white sugar with one tablespoon of water. Place it near the bee so it can help itself to it, and hopefully save the bee!
Do not mow the lawns as often
Mowing the lawns too often means we are destroying lawn weeds such as dandelions, which are excellent bee plants that provide vital pollen. If you cannot bear to let your lawn grow, consider leaving a patch to give them a chance to flower.
Looking for some books to help continue learning about the bees?
We found an article that contained some great books, find them below;
Backyard bees : a guide for the beginner beekeeper / Doug Purdie.
Save the bees with natural backyard hives
The rooftop beekeeper : Megan Paska with Rachel Wharton
Letters to a beekeeper / Steve Benbow, Alys Fowler.
The urban wildlife gardener: how to attract birds, bees, butterflies, and more / Emma Hardy.
Why are bees important to the environment you ask?
Bees make lots of products! Some to feed their babies, some to feed their queens and provide them with homes and some to keep out diseases out of the hive.
Without bee pollination, we would have no, Apples, Blueberries, Coffee, Chocolate and much more!
Made from the honeycomb of the honeybee, beeswax is the purest and most natural of all waxes. For each pound of beeswax provided by a honeybee, the bee visits over 30 million flowers. To produce one pound of wax requires the bees to consume about eight to ten pounds of honey. They secrete the beeswax from the underside of their abdomens, and then use the wax to construct a honeycomb. Honeycomb is the perfect accompaniment to your favourite cheese, plus it adds a sweetness and texture to your favourite dishes.
Propolis, or often known as bee glue is a resinous mixture that honeybees produce. They do this by mixing saliva and beeswax with exudate gathered from botanical sources. Created by bees to keep the hive safe, Propolis is a natural substance used to strengthen and protect the hive from diseases. Offering powerful antioxidant properties, it helps to support the immune system with guaranteed flavonoid content.
Worker bees produce Royal jelly to feed to the queen bee. It is her main source of food and nutrition and helps her everyday vitality. Royal Jelly is traditionally known as a superfood and has been used for its natural properties. Rich in 10-HDA, a naturally occurring fatty acid, proteins, vitamins, and amino acids.