Our bees are in trouble and there is something we can do to help – there’s a fair few things actually!
As we know, bees are pretty vital to the survival of our ecosystem, as they pollinate our plants, flowers and 75% of our main food crops worldwide.
Bee colonies are rapidly decreasing, with a worrying 13 bee species going extinct in the UK since 1900, and a further 35 being added to the threatened species list.
According to Greenpeace, we (humans) are largely responsible for two biggest causes of the worldwide bee colony collapses – pesticides and habitat loss. Other factors causing the number of bees to die out include drought, genetic factors and air pollution – all of these are causes that we can try to reduce to help restore the number of bee colonies.
As Spring approaches, we spoke to Arena Flowers for their top five top tips on what we can do in our own gardens, to help save the bees:
Mow your lawn less often
My husband was very excited to read this one! As much as we love a pristine garden, by cutting the grass less often it gives bees and other pollinators shelter amongst the grass, and a place to feed. So you know have an excellent excuse as to why your grass is slightly overgrown this summer!
Plant a mix of bee-friendly seeds, plants and veg
Bees need a variety of different plants for food: from hedges and shrubs, to bulbs, herbs and vegetables. The bigger variety of plant life you have in your garden, the greater variety of insects and birds your garden will be able to support. Don’t forget that bees enjoy ‘weeds’ such as dandelions, nettles and buttercups, which are really wild flowers, so leave a corner of your garden to grow wild.
Use bee-friendly pesticides
One of the easiest ways to help the bees is to stop using bee-harming pesticides and herbicides. Look for the least toxic options you can find, and try and avoid highly toxic chemicals such as rotenone, sabadilla and spinosad.
Make a bee nest
My 6 year old is very excited to try this one out! Queen bumblebees seek out places to hibernate in the winter before emerging in the early spring to create a nest. Bumblebees love to make their homes in old teapots so why not bury the pot, with a few dry leaves in it, just below the surface with the spout sticking out above the ground and you will make a bumblebee queen very happy.
Help a tired bee out
As a last resort, you can help revive a tired bee by feeding it a simple cocktail of white granulated sugar and water mixed on a teaspoon. Only help a bee if it has collapsed or is struggling, and please don’t leave the source of sugar water out for a long period of time – this is the equivalent of feeding the bees junk food and may tempt the bees away from the hive. Do not be tempted to offer honey as the honey may be imported and not suitable for British bees
For more information on the Rise and Fall of Bees visit ArenaFlowers.