As well as enjoying eating different types of honey, it is easy to develop a profound appreciation for bees. Not just honey bees, all types of bees.
Still your mind and look for bees
Heading out into nature is a wonderful way to relax, whether it is a trip to a local park, wandering around a garden or a walk through woodland, there is much to behold.
Once you still your mind, put down your phone and start to look, you will find yourself absorbed and delighting in nature and the activities of bees and pollinators alike.
Bees as pollinators
Bees are pollinators and they contribute to the pollination of our food crops. However, bees and other pollinators also play a vital role in the survival of other wild plants that support so much of our wildlife.
Honeybees are mostly kept in hives that are managed by beekeepers. Whilst, honeybees are responsible for pollinating between 5-15% of the UK’s insect-pollinated crops, 85-95% of the UK’s insect-pollinated crops rely on wild pollinators.
There is only one species of honey bee in the UK however there are many species of bee that don’t live in managed hives. In addition, there are a range of wild pollinators, such as moths, butterflies, hoverflies and beetles.
They all provide an essential service in the UK as they help pollinate crops annually.
Why are pollinators under threat?
Did you know that 3 bumblebee species in the UK have become extinct in recent decades? A recent European Red List for Bees reports that almost one in ten species of wild bee face extinction, and over the past 50 years, half the bee, butterfly and moth species studied in the 2013 State of Nature Report have declined.
Many of these pollinator declines are due to changes in the way we farm. Agriculture can lead to the destruction of habitat, leaving fragmented wildlife. With urbanisation come further habitat loss. Insect pollinators are also affected by the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides and factors such as climate change, and disease also contribute to pollinator declines.
Plant for pollinators
One of the biggest problems for pollinators including bees is a lack of flowering plants, especially those packed with pollen and nectar. So if you have even a small space, I would encourage you to grow more of them. Not only will you delight in the visiting pollinators you will find a way in this busy modern world to connect with nature and find stillness and joy.
I care passionately about bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other pollinators and believe gardens (however small) play an important role in reversing their decline. Please help to protect our pollinators by planting pollen and nectar rich plants.