Honey, honey

When I was a little girl, one of my biggest fears was bees … until I got stung.

Then it was all ok and the pain was minimal, but the guilt I felt after accidentally squashing that little fuzzy bug with my hand, was awful – it was so pretty and I knew it had an important job to do. Since then I’ve been fascinated by watching bees work and fly, by the pollen they keep in little bags on their wings and legs. Just beautiful.

But I don’t just love bees because honey is delicious. Oh no. Did you know that bees are imperative to our lifestyle too?

You might have heard some buzz (!) about the threat of bee extinction. It’s not just climate-change “propaganda”. This is a very legit problem we have to contend with in our changing world, after treating it like shit for the past few centuries. And we’ve really messed with the bees and other pollinators, like fruit bats, birds and butterflies. Losing our pollinators would mean the end of plenty of food groups, as well as have a massive and devastating impact on agriculture and the environment in general.Every animal has its place in the ecosystem – and perhaps none so important as the bee. VICE summed this up very neatly here.

So – why’s it happening? Deforestation, pests, insecticides, pollution and climate change are all to blame for the decline. It’s hard to find exact figures, and especially global ones, but scientists are concerned enough about it to be documenting die-off rates.

The National Academies in the USA estimated, in a 2006 report, that 75 per cent of the world’s flowering plant species rely on pollinators.

bee2

Buzz.

So basically, we need bees. And you’ll probably agree after reading the next bit …

Thanks to pollinators, you can (at present) enjoy the following foods, care of the following creatures:

ALFALFA: leafcutter bees and honey bees

ALMOND: honey bees

ANISE: honey bee

APPLE: honey bees, blue mason orchard bees

APRICOT: bees

AVOCADO: bees, flies, bats

BANANA: birds, fruit bats

BLUEBERRY: More than 115 kinds of bees, including bumblebees, mason bees, mining bees and leafcutter bees

CARDAMOM: honey bees, solitary bees

CASHEW: bees, moths, fruit bats

CHERRY: honey bees, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, flies

CHOCOLATE:  midges (flies), stingless bees

COCONUT: insects and fruit bats

COFFEE: stingless bees, other bees or flies

CORIANDER: honey bees, solitary bees

CRANBERRY: More than 40 native bees, including bumble

DAIRY PRODUCTS: Diary cows eat ALFALFA pollinated by leafcutter and honey bees

FIG: 800 kinds of fig wasps

GRAPE: bees

GRAPEFRUIT: bees

KIWIFRUIT: honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees

MACADAMIA NUT: bees, beetles, wasps

MANGO: bees, flies, wasps

MELON: bees

NUTMEG: honey bees, bird

PAPAYA: moths, birds, bees

PEACH: bees

PEAR: honey bees, flies, mason bees

PEPPERMINT: flies, bees

PUMPKIN: squash and gourd bees, bumblebees

RASPBERRY and BLACKBERRY: honey bees, bumblebees, solitary bees, hover flies

SESAME: bees, flies, wasps

STRAWBERRY: bees

SUGARCANE: bees, thrips

TEA PLANTS: flies, bees and other insects

TEQUILA (AGAVE): bats

TOMATO: bumble bees

VANILLA: bees

So what can be done?

Firstly, stop using nasty chemicals in your garden. These kill bees and they’re also really bad for you. There are plenty of eco-friendly and effective options around.

Making your garden bee-friendly is a great and also aesthetically pleasing way to help the bees. Planting fragrant flowers and herbs will bring them into your garden and keep them healthy and busy. Lavender is my personal favourite!

You can also buy bees and install beehives at your place if you have the room. Some local councils will give you a beehive and bees to kickstart the process.

One of my all-time favourite companies, Weleda, is a champion for bees. In fact, they provide bee habitats to schools around the country to get kids interested in bee conservation, while actively participating in it. More information about their Bee B&B Hotel project is here.

bees

Source: Eco Watch

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