We have all heard in the news how our bee colonies are in decline – in the UK alone the number has halved since 1985 due to changes in land use, the varroa mite (which spreads disease within bee colonies), and cold wet summers.
But how does this affect us?
Honey bees are vital for sustaining our ecosystem because they pollinate the majority of the fruit, vegetables and crops that end up on our plates. Without the honey bee, our environment could change dramatically.
Bees also contribute £200 million a year to the British economy through the production of honey. Their loss is a major threat to crops and human food production.
What can we do to help?
Simple things, such as providing the right habitats. By planting bee-friendly plants, flowers, trees and vegetables, bees will be encouraged into our gardens. Bee-friendly flowers and vegetables include foxgloves, lavender, forget-me-nots, apples, runner beans and raspberries.
A number of associations and UK companies have initiated some great campaigns to help the plight of the Bee, for example:-
The British Bee-keepers Association welcomed 5,000 new members last year (a rise close to 50%) as more people wish to help the bee’s plight by keeping their own bee hives. If you don’t like the idea of having a bee hive in your garden (it can be quite a shock opening a hive and seeing 50,000 bees working away), you could adopt a hive and help encourage the growth of new colonies in an area local to you. For more information visit http://www.adoptabeehive.co.uk/
The National Trust is encouraging people to ‘BEE PART OF IT’ this summer. To help tackle the problem the trust is introducing 45 new honey bee colonies across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Every hive is being adopted by a BBC Local Radio station who will tell the story of their hive across the summer. As part of the project, every BBC Local Radio station will be giving away 1,000 packets of bee-friendly wild flower seeds (subject to availability) for listeners to sow in their gardens.
Innocent Drinks are working alongside the National Trust to help create the new bee hives and supply all the kit for the beekeepers.
Innocent have produced a limited edition Lemon, Honey and Ginger smoothie which comes with bee friendly wild flower seeds so you can create a bee-friendly garden or window box yourself.
Beauty Connection – Our tribute to the bee
Paddywax has created Journey of the Bee – a premium collection of candles designed as a tribute to nature’s hardest worker, the bee. Its series of six delightful fragrances denotes the various stages of the bee’s journey – from early blossoms of sweet clover through to the raw honey in the hive.
Paddywax will be working with Bee Conservation to ensure the protection of the bee and will be investing in initiatives to encourage the growth of the global bee population.
Benefits of beeswax candles:-
Prized since ancient times, beeswax is produced by honey bees to build the honeycomb walls. This natural wax has been used for many things including cosmetics, skincare and candles. Beeswax is referred to as the premium wax which has a number of benefits:-
- Beeswax has the cleanest burn of all waxes
- Good fragrance throw
- Slow burn so giving a longer burn time than other wax types
- It has the highest melting point of any know wax
- It can help cleanse the air and rid your home of toxins odour, toxins, pollen) which can be beneficial to people with allergies and environmental sensitivities
Interesting Bee Facts
- Bees visit two million flowers and travel an average of 43,000 miles to collect enough nectar to make just one pound of honey.
- The average worker bee makes just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime
- Bees fly at 15mph, visiting 50 to 100 flowers on each trip
- Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years
- Bees’ have two pairs of wings which flap 11,400 times a minute creating their buzz
- They have five eyes
- Honey bees do a waggle dance to show the other bees where food is
- One in three mouthfuls of food is produced with the help of bees