Back in 2009, the importance of saving our bees was brought to the attention of the world. The campaign was led by GreenPeace and the consequences of losing these little friends became the knowledge of all of us.
However, interest in this essential cause has dropped recently. Google trends show that among all the environmental issues going on with our planet, save the bees has been the least popular search term in the last 5 years.
What Does This Mean?
While this is great news, we can not get complacent. Just because bee colonies are on the rise, this by no means can allow us to assume we have done enough.
What About The UK?
In the UK, bees have been in decline since the early ’80s and the Varroa mite breakout in the ‘90s caused a rapid decline in bee numbers.
However, the pandemic has had a positive impact on the bee population, alongside wildflowers, a huge win! With fewer visitors to certain areas and councils prioritising other needs over mowing wild meadows, it seems the bees are making a comeback.
However, we still have a long way to go and post-pandemic actions could reverse these new numbers if we aren’t careful.
Bee diversity in the UK has changed for the worse in the last 50 years. Beekeepers are doing what they can to help the bee population. In 2008 there were only 15,000 registered beekeepers in the UK, with a rise to 29,000 in 2013.
However, it is the honey bee that is commonly kept as livestock as they produce a product-honey. But honeybees are not the ones that are in danger. Other species of bee may not seem useful without the production of honey, but they are essential to the pollination process.
A World Without Bees
So why do we care about bees? In simple terms, without bees, there would be no humans. In fact, it isn’t just humans but probably all animals. Bees are vital to the pollination of our flora.
Without this, crops won’t grow. Without crops, there is literally no food for us. We will quickly see their meat supply gone when livestock has no fodder and fruits and vegetables will rapidly die out.
You may see some farmers using artificial pollination processes, from meticulously applying pollen with paintbrushes, to even robot bee drones programmed to do that job.
While this is great news for us, it isn’t sustainable. The natural life cycle of a bee and its vital role simply can not be replicated by us humans.
What We Can Keep Doing
While there has been a positive response to the initial Save The Bees campaign and awareness was raised globally, we can’t be complacent. An increase in bee populations doesn’t mean we are back to ‘normal’ when it comes to numbers.
In fact, this is the perfect time to continue doing everything we can. With bee populations steady, with the right actions in place, it can be much easier to bring up numbers and help our little friends thrive. Let’s not forget our little friends and make sure they are looked after.
It may seem like everyone knows the importance of saving the bees, but with dwindling interest and campaigns, it can be easily forgotten. Children are often more eco-conscious than we realise and single-use plastics and the use of fossil fuels is often taught in the classroom, but saving the bees is overlooked.
Start a conversation with someone, even the smallest passing comment can spark an interest and awareness in someone and help spread the message. Teaching children at an early age about the importance of saving the bees can help shape a generation of insect lovers and guardians.
Watch What You Eat
Done right, humans eating honey can be beneficial to the bee population. When purchasing honey, make sure it is from a sustainable provider. A good beekeeper or farmer will provide flowers that have not been treated with pesticides and organically grown.
Buying local honey will also reduce the carbon footprint of your favourite sweet treat and provide income to smaller beekeepers, helping them invest more in sustainable honey farming.
Transform Your Garden
Grow some bee food. There are certain plants that bees thrive on. Native UK wildflowers such as marigolds and primroses are easy to grow, look beautiful and are a favourite for bees.
Wild bees love an unkempt garden. While we wouldn’t force anyone to ditch the lawnmower, why not leave a small section of your garden untended. Bees thrive in long grasses and hedgerows and will build nests in them.
If you don’t have outdoor space or would prefer to not change the layout of your garden, why not get a bee hotel? They can easily be fixed on any exterior wall. You can purchase one or make one yourself. We found the below video that provides a great tutorial: