Why do we need bees?
Bees are a vital part of most ecosystems. Avid conservationist Peitrantonia Costrini explains, “the bees’ body collects the energy-rich nectar and protein pollen grains by its electrostatic forces, that allows it to stick to the hairs of her body. When she visits the next flower, some of the pollen rubs off – this is known as cross-pollination. This vitally important process leads to greater genetic diversity in plants and also helps to increase the harvest number and fruit size of a plant bearing fruit”. This helps the animals within those ecosystems as it provides them with food, but it is also essential to human food production too. As our population begins to grow, it is essential that we protect the bees as they are the backbone of our food production – no bees, no food. We take the beautiful flower meadows and gorgeous wildlife we see on our walking holidays, trips to the park and countryside jaunts for granted, but the truth is, this will all diminish if we neglect our bee population.
It is acknowledged that the bee population is in trouble. There is growing public concern over the rapid decline in numbers of bees globally. There are many contributors to the decline of the bees, and sadly a lot of those are instigated by human ignorance.
Firstly – The decline in bees is a biproduct of climate change. They rely on climate cues to know when spring has arrived. The freak weather we have experienced throughout recent years has masked the bees’ ability to recognise when they should come out of hibernation. Secondly – Loss of habitat. Human destruction such as deforestation is having a huge impact on the bees’ habitat as it reduces the number of plants and the green space to pollinate. Thirdly – Toxic pesticides. The pesticides we use to kill insects that damage our plants can also have a huge impact on the bees too. Pesticides are poisonous, so whilst you are solving one problem, a much more serious one is occurring as a result.
What is being done to help?
Thankfully, the declining bee population is becoming an acknowledged issue, with companies as well as individuals taking matters into their own hands. An incredible example of this work is Exodus Travels and their partnership with Rewilding Europe. Rewilding Europe is a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands and their sole focus is to “restore our nature’s ecosystems and biodiversity, for wildlife to return and thrive”. Exodus Travels have developed an incredible project that aims to “rewild 100 square meters of the Italian Apennines for every one of our [their] passengers”. As a result of this project, biodiversity will be increased once again, natural ecosystems will strengthen, wildlife will be protected, and carbon will be absorbed – tackling climate change. These factors will all contribute to the protection of bees and, as a result, the bees will continue to pollinate and expand this healthy environment. This innovative project will hopefully pave the way for companies to follow, and positive movement to a healthy world (particularly for the bees) can be achieved.
What can you do to help?
If this has grabbed your attention and you feel you would like to help save the bees from the comfort of your own home, then here are some great ideas to get your started.
Plant a bee garden – Planting a bee garden is a beautiful and valuable way to ensure the bees in your garden have a safe home. All you need is a variety of pollen-rich plants and the bees will do the rest.
Ban the chemicals – Pesticides and other chemicals can be extremely harmful to bees, so avoid using these in your garden. Instead, use natural solutions that won’t harm the bee population.
Create a bee bath – You may already have one, (in which case, you are one step ahead), but by filling a shallow bird bath with clean water and smooth pebbles, the bees will land on the pebbles and enjoy a long drink after a day’s pollination.