Bees have been in the media consistently over the past couple of years, due to the fact that unfortunately bees are suffering from a catastrophic decline in numbers. Bees are the only source of pollination for many of the foods we consume as a human race, meaning that if action is not taken quickly, the loss of bees will have a huge effect on the availability of food globally. There are many campaigns to save the bees and education of the population as a whole on the bees plight is an important agenda for governing bodies.
The increase in chemicals and pesticides are most probably the cause of the bees decline. The chemicals that are used across the world are created to enhance an almost sterile environment, disrupting ecosystems. The natural habitats of the bee are also being destroyed as more and more land is used for agricultural purposes.
When I was young I inherited a lovely book from my mum, titled Bees – Shown To The Children by Ellison Hawks. I still have the book and often look at the beautiful coloured picture plates. According to my little book there are or were in 1912 more than 2000 types of bee 200 of which are found in the UK. I wonder how many can be found in 2018?
So my love of bees continued, until I reached a point at the age of five years old, when I discovered that actually bumble bees are quite furry. My new discovery resulted in me sitting on the front step stroking bees!!?? Thinking back there must have been a large bee population in the 1970’s as they were everywhere. Surprisingly I never got stung, maybe instead of stroking them I should have provided them with some sugar water as they were very docile to the point of being comatose! I happily continued communicating and bonding with the bees in my garden until my brother, who was around three at the time decided to copy me and stroked a wasp! This resulted in him getting stung and me getting told off.
No one would have envisaged in the 1970’s that bees would now be endangered.
As individuals we cannot do much about the global use of pesticides other than signing petitions and being actively involved in organisations aiming to protect bees. Individually we can try to have an impact on the bee population by creating environments that are bee friendly. As our very short Spring changes into summer there is an abundance of dandelions popping up all over our front lawn. It’s tempting to mow them down, but did you know the Dandelion is the first source of food for bees in the year? Leave a few patches and learn to love their sunny bright colours.
This year I’m going to make an effort to plant bee friendly flowers, all of which smell wonderful too. Bees love lavender, sweet peas and calendulas to name a few. Small dishes of water filled with marbles allow a safe drinking place for bees and water with sugar in it revives exhausted bees suffering from the unpredictability of our weather.
The humble bee is so important to the future sustainability of our world.
Lets do our bit to save the bees.