Today is National Honey Bee Day in the USA and there will be a number of events throughout the country to celebrate day and raise awareness. Sadly, in the US and UK bees numbers are in decline; loss of habitat, pesticide use, intensive farming, climate change, and disease are all threatening our native bees. What can we do to help?
Grow nectar rich plants – It may sound fairly insignificant but growing plants – even in just a small container – would make a huge difference. If everyone grew some sort of flowering plant our bees would have somewhere to rest and replenish their energy stores before flying back to the hive. Imagine running the London Marathon and there being no water stations? Well “bee corridors” as they’re known are a similar concept – creating somewhere for bees to feed and shelter on a long journey will really make a difference.
Leave areas of grass unmown – My local council already does this, and on certain times of the year leaves the grass to grow long, allowing clover and other wild flowers to bloom. This provides a varied habitat and food source for our tiny insect friends. Even in your own garden you can emulate this on a smaller scale by allowing a small area to “go wild”.
Avoid using pesticides – If you garden please reconsider your use of pesticides; whilst they may kill unwanted pests such as aphids they also cause harm to natural predators, such as ladybirds, and our pollinating insects. Unfortunately insecticides cannot differentiate between insects we want in our gardens and ones we don’t. Stopping using pesticides will restore the natural balance in your garden.
Eat organically – The farming industry is one of the largest users of pesticides; who wants their lettuces covered in greenfly? But that comes at a cost. Whether you believe organic vegetables are better for you or not, one thing cannot be denied, they are better for the environment as there are no pesticides used that kill our wildlife or leach into our water supply. And organic doesn’t have to mean expensive; grow your own to supplement your shop, or see if there are any local schemes that grow and sell organic produce.
Buy goods from companies with a good ethos – Many companies, particularly beauty companies, are recognising the growing concern people have about the environment and what we put into our bodies and are starting to manufacture more naturally focused products. Burt’s Bees is one of these companies, not only producing natural products, with a focus on sustainability and minimizing their impact on the environment, but also highlighting the plight of the Bee and educating people as to how they can help (you can find out more here).
How do you feel about the issues above? I’d love to hear if you do anything in particular to help our native wildlife.
In true Burt’s Bees style, to help promote National Bee Day, Burt’s Bees are offering a free Milk & Honey Body Lotion on all website orders totalling £25 plus (no code required, valid until August 31st).