Author: Katerina Pickup
Today is the National Don’t Step on a Bee Day and as I love seeing bees in our garden, I took time to learn a little bit more about them and to share a few facts about these wonderful, hard-working creatures with you!
You might find this surprising if not shocking but without the tireless work of our native bees, more than a third of everything we put on our table would disappear!! Bees are absolutely vital for our ecosystem and for our economy – in fact pollinators such as bees are estimated to be worth a staggering £690 million per annum to the UK economy. Yet their numbers are reducing faster than ever before.
Bee facts: Did you know that…
🐝 Bees rely on transport system called B-lines which link existing wildlife areas together, creating a network, like a railway.
🐝 Male bees in the hives are called drones and female bees (except the queen) are called worker bees.
🐝 Number of eggs laid by queen: as many as 2,000 per day!
🐝 Honeybees have a dance move called the ‘waggle dance’. It’s not actually a dance move at all, rather a clever way of communication between themselves.
🐝 If the queen bee dies in a honeybee hive the workers create a new queen bee by feeding a young larva special food called ‘royal jelly’!
Climate change and bees: Protecting our planet
What can you do to bee helpful?
Firstly, DON’T STEP ON A BEE (obviously!)
1 Take the British Beekeepers Association quiz.
In the UK we have a honeybee, 24 species of bumblebees and around 240 species of solitary bees who come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has an area on their website called “What bee is this?” which helps identify most of the more common bees seen in the UK.
2 Buy honey from your local beekeeper.
Some 85% of honey here in the UK is currently imported. With so many beekeepers on our doorstep in both Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, there is really no need to buy imported honey. Support our local beekeepers by visiting a nearby farm shop and enjoy the honey produced by local bees from local flowers! It tastes delicious and has so much more flavour than supermarket honey.
3 Plant wild flowers in your garden.
Aim for a good variety of pollen-rich flowers that have different flower shapes and a range of flowering periods from early spring to late summer and even throughout the winter if you can. Bumblebee species have different length tongues that are adapted to feed from different shaped flowers. For example, the longest tongued species, Bombus hortorum, prefers deep flowers such as honeysuckle and foxglove. In general, avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers. Their flowers are filled with petals and pollinators find them difficult to access.
4 Give your lawn mover a rest.
Leave the daisies and dandelions to grow for a few weeks to provide food for bees and butterflies. If you don’t like the idea of leaving the whole lawn grow then you can always create a little wild flower patch just for insects and pollinators!
5 Help spread the message!
Before today I knew that bees were under threat but frankly, learning just how much of our ecosystem depends on bees has been an eye-opener. Please share your bee stories, photos and videos with your friends on facebook, Twitter and instagram using #dontsteponabeeday and #beegoodtobees hashtags to raise awareness!
Why not take a look at our WH&T Going Green Facebook Page which is packed with ideas on how to bee more green, wherever in your journey to sustainability you are.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and learning a little bit more about bees! Thank you for reading. 🙂🐝