Bees are disappearing all over the world for reasons related to agricultural insecticides, climate change and diseases. We should care about the plight of bees, because they have a huge importance in providing for our food security and biodiversity.
So you’re aware of the problem — what can you start doing today to save the bees?
1. Buy bee-friendly honey
Not all honey is bee-friendly. The methods used in industrial honey-making, such as transporting bees between habitats in trucks, can be detrimental to the health of bees and the environment.
Industrially produced honey is also often heated or otherwise treated after harvesting, diminishing its positive effects on your health. Buying from local organic producers ensures you are supporting ethical beekeeping.
Organic honey naturally contains many qualities that are beneficial to your health. Going through the trouble of seeking out high-quality honey means that you can feel good about eating honey every day!
2. Remember to read the label
Make sure you know what you’re getting when you buy honey. Sometimes even honey labelled as ‘organic’ can be a mixture of honey from different countries and producers, making it impossible to trace whether it is actually organic.
Preferably, your honey should be ‘raw’, which means that it is completely untreated — just the natural stuff that is genuinely good for you.
Whenever you can, buy honey from a farmer you know. Go to farmers’ markets and talk to the beekeepers. If you are interested, you could probably even arrange to visit a hive!
3. If you have a garden, use it to promote bee health
Find out which flowers bees like to use as food and plant them in your garden. The simple act of planting flowers can have a big positive impact on the bee population in your area.
It is also good to let your garden go a bit wild. Bees love wildflowers and many plants that some gardeners consider undesirable ‘weeds’.
Provide a bowl of fresh water for bees in your garden. This will also help them thrive.
4. Avoid using pesticides and other chemicals in your garden
A pesticide-laden lawn may look neat and clean, but treating your garden with these chemicals has the grim side effect of damaging the biosphere.
If flowers get contaminated with pesticides during blooming season, the bees feeding on them will carry traces of these pesticides directly into the hive. This has detrimental effects on the health of the hive and the quality of the honey.
Some pesticides can also cause Colony Collapse Disorder, which is the primary threat to bee populations today.
5. Create healthy habitats for bees
All bee species have a certain type of environment in which they thrive. Unfortunately, many of their natural habitats are being destroyed by agricultural and urban development.
Everyday items cbe used to create homes for bees in your back garden. For example, you can just use an old plant pot, poke some holes in it, fill it with some nesting material, and then place it upside down in the shade; this will make the perfect home for bumblebees.
There are also ready-made bee houses you can buy for your garden. These might also make a memorable gift for someone who is interested in gardening or beekeeping.
6.Try your hand at beekeeping
If you produce your own honey, you can be 100% sure it is bee-friendly. For many people, beekeeping is a fun and educational hobby. You could join them and start enjoying fresh, organic honey from your own garden!
There are many places you can find information, advice and the necessary equipment. Setting up a hive takes some time and dedication, but it will be worth it for the honey.
7. Spread the B word
It is crucial to spread awareness of the bee crisis, because many people do not realise just how important the bees are for our planet.
Speak to your political representatives, get involved in campaigns, or just talk about the bees to the people around you.
Educate your friends. Get them excited about honey that is good for their health, the bees and the environment as a whole.
If you have children, teach them that bees are not a pest but an invaluable friend for humans.
8. Adopt a beehive
There are many programmes and NGOs around the world which let you adopt a beehive to promote bee health. You can adopt a beehive as an individual or as a business. This is a great way to promote responsible beekeeping and help save the bees.
Adopting a hive has a positive impact in many ways. You are helping to cure the bee population, promoting beekeeper skills in your area, protecting traditional and natural beekeeping methods, and contributing to the establishment of more organic bee hives.