It’s no secret that the honey bee is in trouble. Beekeepers around the world have reported unusually high rates of decline in bee numbers since the Nineties, with the number of colonies in the US dropping by 40% in the last 10 years alone. This global trend is a worrying one. It’s estimated that one third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees. If we don’t act now to save the honey bee, we may end up paying dearly for it.
The exact cause of this global decline isn’t 100% certain. Pesticides certainly play a part, but how much is unknown. Disease also seems to be playing a role, but when a bee becomes sick, it leaves the hive and never returns. This makes it difficult to even find out what’s going on because there’s no “smoking gun” to study. But there are things you can do to help. Below are three ways you can help save the bee from this annihilation.
Make your garden bee-friendly
Bees (unlike wasps) are vegetarians. They’re only interested in pollen, so if you want to help them, make sure they have plenty to eat. If you have a garden, fill it with flowers. Bees prefer flowers that are blue/purple or yellow. Red, orange white and pink will do of course, but we all have our favourites!
Many people obsess about their gardens, but letting it grow a bit wild doesn’t hurt. Bees absolutely love clover and dandelions, so don’t be too hasty to rip up those wildflowers that many others would consider weeds.
Don’t use pesticides in your garden. They’re not only bad for the bees, but for you too. Use natural or organic means of pest control. There’s plenty of information online, or a chat with your local gardening store will help guide you. Pesticides are the main reason for the disappearance of bee colonies worldwide.
Support local beekeepers
Beekeeping is a dying art form, which is a shame because it’s so cool! You’ll find beekeepers at local farmer’s markets, selling their raw, organic honey, which isn’t chemically treated. It’s good for you and for the local economy.
Or better yet, become a beekeeper yourself! Beekeeping is an enjoyable, productive and satisfying hobby. You get to learn a specialized skill, eat your own honey and make some money while you’re at it. Search online for local training programs, or ask a local beekeeper for some advice on how to get started. You can even buy starter packs online to help you get on your feet.
We’ve known about declining bee populations for quite some time, but as usual, our politicians are slow in doing anything about it. Beekeepers are (correctly) worried we are not putting enough research into why these colonies are disappearing. Funding and resources are low when it comes to solving this problem, and it’s only to our own detriment.
It’s estimated the economic value of bees’ pollination work is around $300 billion annually, worldwide. That’s a lot of money, and so it makes sense even on a purely economic level to put more effort and legislation into this problem.
There’s certainly a grassroots movement to help save the bees, but change needs to come from the top-down as well as the bottom-up. Contact your local representative and ask what they are doing to help with the honey bee problem, and voice your support for more research into the issue.
Bees are an essential part of the natural ecosystem, and without them everyone loses out. Bees are our friends, make great neighbors and they’ll only attack if provoked. Help them today in their hour of need. Add your voice to the thousands around the world by signing this Greenpeace petition to help save the bees.
Bee Plus manuka honey makes some of the purest manuka honey in the world from our sustainable bee hives located around New Zealand. If you're interested in buying our honey, take a look at our products here, or if you have any questions, you can contact us here.