Bee care - what can we do to help them?
Honey bees are clearly vital parts of our ecosystem, acting as highly efficient pollinators of our food crops and wild flora. It’s more crucial than ever to support bee farmers who are helping raise and maintain healthy bees.
Bees help pollinate over 90% of the world’s crops. Without them, there will be no more strawberries, nuts, coffee, cocoa, tomatoes, apples, almonds or avocados… and that’s just the shortlist.
It’s pretty clear why we want to save the bees. Today, bee populations are in much better shape than they were four years ago, thanks to regenerative farming—a fancy term that means planting many native flowers. Still, many things threaten bee populations worldwide, including habitat and biodiversity loss, industrial agriculture, and climate change. There’s also industrial beekeeping.
Are you interested in giving bees a helping hand? Did you find yourselves lucky and get a beehive (a swarm) on your balcony? Here are 5 easy steps to help the bees:
Our Top Tips:
1. Provide a water bowl with pebbles
Bees need to rest and rehydrate before continuing their pollinating journey, and if you don’t live where bees can splash around in their free time, provide a small water bowl with just enough pebbles so the bees can sit on them and get a drink (we don’t want the bees to drown!). Alternatively, you can grate some apples in a bowl with water. Bees can land safely on the apple pieces and drink the sweet water.
2. Plant-friendly flowers
Many bee-friendly plants, from herbs and flowers to larger shrubs and trees. Start by planting something simple to suit your space, time and interests. Pots on a patio, like herbs in a planter or a hanging basket, can help bees. If you have more space, the easiest, cheapest and quickest way to create a natural bee habitat is to grab a mixed packet of wildflowers from your local garden centre.
3. Put away pesticides
Bee-harming pesticides and herbicides are implicated in bee decline (especially neonicotinoids). It’s tempting to buy a can of spray, but dealing with real pests like aphids is as easy as stripping them off or planting marigolds next to your veg plot.
4. Go Organic
If you want to save the bees, buy organic from your local store or farmers’ market. By doing so, you’re helping to support a farming industry that protects bee populations.
5. Buy raw honey from trusted beekeepers
While wild bees are critical for agriculture, farm bees support local bee populations. Bee farmers are best known for nurturing these on-site bee communities, but they often rescue swarming beehives, too, which protects the colony from extermination.
When you purchase genuine honey products, you’re not only supporting these hard-working beekeepers—you’re also getting the (delicious) benefits of raw honey. As a bonus, raw honey straight from the hive is unheated, unpasteurised, and undiluted, which means it’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
** If there is a beehive accidentally landed on your balcony, don’t freak out! They are not harmful; most probably, they are just tired. Bees are not pests; please don’t call pest control (they will kill them). If you can spare that part of your garden or balcony, let them bee. They won’t stay for long. If that is not possible, please call a local beekeeper who can find a new home for them. Search for Beekeepers Association or a bee farm. Thank you!