There was a definite buzz around the building last week, as our worker bees arrived at the office to discover a little gift on their desks… To help our local honey bees, we each received a packet of bee-friendly wildflower seeds to plant at home.
World Honey Bee Day was established in 2009, to help promote beekeeping and raise awareness of the plight of our favourite, fuzzy pollinators, why we should care, and what we can do to help.
The species has experienced a significant decline on a worldwide scale over a number of years due to the increased use of toxic pesticides, climate change and the loss of their habitats. This is a serious problem as wild and domestic honey bees are responsible for about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts and vegetables are pollinated by bees. In fact, 70 of the most popular 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees. If action isn’t taken, the decline of all types of pollinator will have serious implications for biodiversity and food production.
Did you know?
As well as its obvious primary use, honey is used as a preservative and has many health benefits – it’s been used in medicine for thousands of years. Honey contains a variety of nutrients and is rich in antioxidants, it’s better for your blood sugar levels than regular sugar, it promotes burn and wound healing, soothes a cough, and may even improve heart health.
How can I make a difference?
So it’s really important to support our honey bees when they give us so much! Here are some of the best and easiest ways to help:
- Grow your own bee-friendly garden. Plant a range of flowers – bees love wildflowers such as primroses, buddleia and marigolds. They also love long grass and weeds so try leaving your lawnmower in the shed for an extra week.
- No garden? No problem! Plant some herbs in a pot, place on your window ledge and open your window.
- Ditch the toxic stuff! Some products we use on plants and veggies hurt bees and other pollinators. Try a sprinkling of cayenne pepper or even Epsom salts, which are considered bee-friendly.
- Buy local honey. Once you’ve tried locally produced honey you won’t be able to go back to the supermarket!