This Monday, May 20th, is World Bee Day, and now more than ever, we need to save the bees. If the bees die out, the result would be catastrophic as so many trees and plants would go down with them, and therefore our food, our oxygen, everything. Our ecosystem in it’s natural state is awe-inspiring, but delicate, and we’ve meddled too much with the world’s balance, as we all know now as we have just over a decade to reverse the climate crisis, or endure ecological breakdown.
Bees aren’t the only pollinators out there, but they are the most prolific, but even if they weren’t, we still shouldn’t let anything go extinct. Unfortunately we already have let down too many animals in that area.
Here are things we can all do to try save the bees:
Bees love bright sugary flowers, as they give them food, and they carry pollen and help grow more plants, and the food we eat.
Different flowers bloom and are best at different times of the year. For anyone who wants their garden to be a haven for bees, it’s important to have certain flowers blooming during certain seasons, so there’s always something there for them. For spring, bees love crocus, wild lilac, and calendula. In summer, bees love bee balm, floxglove, and cosmos. Butterflies also like bee balm, and they’re also a species we need to look out for. In autumn, bees enjoy witch hazel, goldenrod and zinnias.
Give a helping hand
We’ve been seeing bees on the ground more, because they’re flying more than ever. With everywhere becoming it’s own concrete jungle there’s less flowers for the bees, which means they have less energy to fly, and have to fly more to get back to nature or their hive. Coming across a bee on the ground doesn’t mean it’s dead, what you can do is to mix sugar and water on a spoon, and leave it out for the bee to replenish itself. Once it feels better, it will fly away. What you can encourage businesses to do, is to get Bee Saving Paper which is a biodegradable paper with sugar which can be diluted in water to feed bees. How wonderful would it be to use this to make sleeves for coffee cups, car park tickets, or bags?
Don’t call the exterminator
A lot of people are afraid of bees, I’m actually pretty afraid of them, and 100% afraid of wasps and spiders. However, just because I’m not fond of insects, except the likes of ladybirds or butterflies – I do have an orange monarch tattoo after all – doesn’t mean I kill them. Everything on this Earth has a role in it’s eco-system, and although wasps are aggressive bastards, they also pollinate plants so we need them. If you find a nest in your home or shed, don’t destroy it or exterminate them, instead contact a bee keeper to come and relocate it.
Say no to pesticides
Pesticides not only kill bees and other insects, but those that don’t kill them can still cause harm. They can impair their ability to fly, making pollination harder. I’ve signed lots of petitions against pesticides that are harmful to bees and I’d recommend others doing the same. This also means not using any pesticides and chemicals in your own garden, and look for natural ways to keep away unwanted pest, like lining ant-powder or salt around to keep ants and slugs at bay. You can also buy your fruit and veg from small local farmers who don’t use them, or even grow your own.
Buy local honey (if you’re not vegan)
Honey is quite a debated topic, especially among vegans. The vast majority of people don’t consider honey to be vegan, as it was made by bees. They also argue that it’s not our place to take honey from the bees, and that some beekeepers care more about a high honey yield than the well-being of the bees and they’re left with little to no honey and/or a poor substitute for it. One the other hand, wild bee populations are so low, beekeepers producing honey are keeping bee populations up. Some bee keepers say they only take the excess honey so the bees have enough for themselves. Whether you ethically agree of disagree with honey is up to you, but if you do eat it, try to purchase from small local beekeepers who are more likely to respect the bees as they don’t mass produce.
There’s vegan alternatives to beeswax paper, so you can still try zero waste without it, which I 100% recommend investing in because there’s too much plastic in the ocean all for covering yesterdays lunch.
Leave the weeds
Weeds are rarely pretty but necessary. If there wasn’t a reason for them, they wouldn’t exist in the first place. Buttercups and some species of daisies count as weeds, and weeds are some of the most vital food sources for bees. You can leave the weeds like clover bloom, and then get rid of it before it goes to seed it you want to help the bees, but don’t want to sacrifice your dream garden for too long.
Get a bee hotel
A bee hotel is an ideal place for bees to nest and lay eggs. However it’s a bit more complex than simply buying a bee hotel, I found this thread really informative. You need to make sure to clean it, replace the reeds, and get one the right size so it’s worth shopping around for the best one because you can unintentionally cause more harm than good.