Bee Facts

Save Our Native Bees!

Bees are vital to our lives as they are among the primary pollinators of plants in the UK. It has been deduced that if our native bees were to die out the effect on crops and wild flowers would be utterly catastrophic. As these crops and flowers provide food for our wild and farm animals we could easily lose up to a third of our regular diet. This is a very real problem, and one that is not getting the attention it needs.

There have been many suggestions as to the causes of the decline in bees, one of the most popular of which is the widespread use of pesticides. Insecticides such as this may well have an adverse effect on bees and could explain the large numbers that are dying out each year. Other suggestions have included mites that spread disease and also the change in climate of late, but bee-keepers are – in general – at a loss to explain what is happening.

This is not a new phenomenon either; since the 1950’s the number of species of native bee in the UK has halved from 50 to just 25, and three more are close to extinction. This is a crisis as dangerous as any other being given prominence in the press, and it needs greater support. We can all do something to help the native bee population, and most of the suggestions are simple and enjoyable.

You could take the step of becoming a beekeeper, a hobby that is gaining rapidly in popularity as it gives much enjoyment and – of course – provides delicious honey! There are clubs and societies for bee-keepers across the UK and plenty of information is available on the art of keeping bees.

Perhaps the easiest and most effective method of helping bees is to make sure you plant the flowers and shrubs they prefer. Bees love rhododendron, poppies and the popular buddleia bushes that also attract butterflies, and are excellent at cross-pollinating fruit trees.

What is missing in the fight to save bees is a serious political approach. It is widely overlooked that losing the bees would be a truly disastrous event that would have grave effects on our economy. You could get involved with one of the many countrywide groups supporting the save the bees campaign and also raise awareness among friends and family.

Bees are not just simple insects that buzz around the garden and provide honey; they are creatures with an interesting and complex life that are also vital to our countryside and everyday lives.