Bees are one of the most hardest working creatures on our planet, they play a critical role in keeping us alive and I don’t think they get the credit they deserve.
There are more than 250 species of bee in Britain and I’ve decided to delve a little deeper and find out why these incredible creatures are so incredible.
When in comes to pollination, bees are vital. Some plants rely on wind to pollinate and others rely on insects, this is where bees do their bit. They are constantly hunting for nectar (they use this to make honey) and spend a lot of time flying around from flower to flower. This allows them to collect pollen from one plant and deposit it on other plants and this is how bees help with pollination.
Crops in the UK such as vegetables, berries and fruits rely on bee pollinations. There are about 60 – 70 different crops that rely on bee pollination including apples, broccoli, cucumbers, watermelon to name just a few.
Bees are in trouble
Due to climate change, the bee population are in decline and the increased use of pesticides doesn’t help either. Climate change is affecting the global temperature which is throwing our seasons out of sync and having a knock-on effect on wildlife too. Bees are coming out of hibernation before flowers have started blooming. As they rely on flowers for their nectar, there isn’t enough food for them to survive. Pesticides are another big issue and they are used to keep pests off our food preventing them from damaging our crops.
Some of these pesticides actually make insects ill including bees. On one side crops need to be protected for food but on the other hand, these pesticides are harming the insects we rely on to help pollinate our food.
Bees are declining, what could happen?
If the bee population continue to decline, what do you think will happen?
- Plants that rely on bee pollination will decline if there aren’t enough bees to pollinate them
- If plants decline, the animals that rely on these plants for food will also start declining. Especially, if the animal solely relies on a particular plant for survival
- The farming community will have to find a way to pollinate their crops manually. The cost of this could run into the billions
- As we rely on bee pollination for fruit and vegetables, these will be in decline too. The pressure on food supplies will be high.
The term ‘circle of life’ is exactly that, when there is a break in the circle, it stops becoming a circle.
You can help
If you have an outside space, big or small, turn it into a flower and vegetable garden and avoid using pesticides.
Grow flowers – especially purple flowers, they see this colour more clearly than any other – lavender, alliums and catmint. If you’ve already got flowers in your garden that aren’t purple, keep them! They’ll love them too. I grow sunflowers in mine and the bees love it.
A little vegetable garden is also a good idea; tomatoes, strawberries or even some herbs. Go nuts!