MAY 20, 2021
Today, May 20th 2021 marks World Bee Day! Each year, World Bee Day is celebrated to help spread awareness of the significance of bees and beekeepers and to recognize and celebrate the hard work of our beekeepers and bees and the important impact they have on the world’s ecosystem.
World Bee Day is an opportunity for the world to focus on the importance of preserving honeybees and other pollinators. Why May 20th? This is the birthday of Anton Janša, who was the pioneer of beekeeping. In Slovenia, he pioneered modern bee keeping techniques and praised the bees for their ability to work hard.
Why are Bees so Important?
To put it simply, we cannot live without bees. Bees play an important role in relation to the scope of agricultural production. The number of crops that depend on pollinators such as seeds, nuts, oilseeds, and vegetables, has tripled over the last 50 years.
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. It has been estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day require pollination to produce its crop and this is mainly done by bees.
Bees 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 a sign of well-functioning ecosystems”
- José Graziano da Silva
Bees are extremely important to our environment, why?
Bees are vital to a healthy environment and healthy economy. They're also simply beautiful and fascinating little insects! Plus they help with;
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 most of our vegetables, fruits and crops that feed our livestock, rely on it to be fertilised, so without it, we would 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.
We should also remember the other reasons bees are important to our environment
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.
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 the honeycomb. You can purchase Premium New Zealand Honeycomb here
Propolis, 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, and also proteins, vitamins, and amino acids.
7 Ways to Celebrate World Bee Day 2021
To celebrate World Bee Day, we have put together 7 ways that we can work together to help #SaveTheBees. Comment any further suggestions you may have to help spread the word!
“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live"
Plant bee-friendly plants
This is one of the easiest ways to help the bees as sadly, the bee population across the globe are dwindling, 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 ready made ‘bee hotel’.
Hang these in a sheltered spot in your garden that is nice and sunny!
Stop using pesticides!
Some of the sprays that are being used in the gardens are sadly extremely lethal to bees and one of their biggest threats.
Try to make the switch to organic solutions where possible, and only spray in the evening when bees have gone to bed.
Even better, leaving them to be controlled naturally is the best choice!
Have shallow water available
Just like us, bees need water to survive! 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 the 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.