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World Bee Day: Protecting The Survival of Bees

Bees aren’t only one of the hardest working insects on our planet; they are also essential for the existence of the world’s ecosystem. World Bee Day is aimed at creating a buzz around what we can do to improve the vital conditions for their survival.

a bee on a yellow flower, next to the wording "World Bee Day - 20 May 2023"

What Is World Bee Day?

Each year, on 20 May, a dedicated United Nations (UN) run awareness day is held. World Bee Day celebrates what bees contribute to our planet and raises awareness of the increasing threat of their existence from human activity.

World Bee Day’s purpose is to:

  • Call for global action to prioritise efforts to protect bees. 
  • Draw attention to why we depend on bees and other pollinators. 
  • Address the devastating effects that unsustainable agricultural practices have on bee and pollinator populations.
  • Aim to stop further loss of biodiversity and damage to ecosystems.  

The World Bee Day theme this year is “Bee engaged in pollinator-friendly agricultural production”. This theme focuses on ways to garden and farm using substances that don’t cause harm to bees.

The Importance of World Bee Day

Bees make more than just honey; they enable the production of an abundance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even medicine. More than this, pollination positively impacts the environment by helping to maintain a diverse and vibrant ecosystem, which agriculture and humanity depend upon. 

Did you know that:

  • Pollinators contribute to 35% of the world’s total crop production?
  • Around 10% of the total economic value of agricultural output for human food is dependent on insect pollination?
  • Close to 75% of the world’s crops producing fruits or seeds for human use depend, at least in part, on pollinators?
  • In 2012, scientists estimated that it would cost over £1.8 billion every single year to pollinate UK crops by hand.

So, fundamentally, they are responsible for our food security.

Why Bees Are Under Threat

Present extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times higher than previously, and this is due to human impacts. The Bee Cause states that a total of 35 different species of bees are under immediate threat of extinction. If the number of bees continues to decline as it has been, it will have a significant impact on our lives. 

The contributing factors:

  • It’s estimated that they have lost around 97% of their flower-rich habitats in the past 60 years. This results in less shelter and places to nest for bees and a reduction in the diverse food sources which bees need for a healthy diet.  
  • Modern intensive farming methods have resulted in the loss of traditional hay and flower meadows, hedgerows, trees and other habitats, such as ponds and water meadows.
  • Urban developments, such as housing, are taking away natural habitats. 
  • Climate change is disrupting bee nesting behaviour, and the varying timing of flowering plants is affecting their food sources. 
  • Pesticides are having an adverse impact on bee health. Neonicotinoids are a particularly harmful group of bee-harming pesticides. 

What You Can Do At Home To Help Protect Bees

Bees are unlikely to damage your property, and it’s crucial that they are cared for. 

You can do so by:

  • Planting a diverse set of bee-friendly plants, which flower at different times of the year.
  • Growing your lawn, or at the very least not mowing it as often.
  • Steering clear of laying artificial grass.
  • Buying raw honey from local farmers.
  • Avoiding using pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides in your garden.
  • Giving bees access to water sources outside.
  • If you see a bee struggling, put down some sugar water to help them revive and fly again.

If you have a nest, don’t worry. Often, solitary bees don’t return to the same spot each year, and their nests are generally best left alone. However, if you have a large nest, we can help to identify the species and advise on the best course of action. We work closely with an expert beekeeper who can help relocate certain bee species and recommends what should be done if the bees can’t be relocated.

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