Happy World Honey Bee Day! Honey bees (and bees in general) are a hugely important part of our planet’s delicate ecology, and play a vital role in food production, sustainability, biodiversity, and even economics, so it’s great to be able to celebrate these incredible creatures. That’s why, today on the RAINE Clothing blog, we’re taking the time to share exactly what makes these insects so important, as well as some steps you can take to help protect them!
What do honey bees do?
Honey bees are actually the most common type of bee – or any other pollinating insects – in the world, and therefore account for most of the pollination worldwide. But what does that mean for us?
A huge percentage of the world’s food crops require pollination in order to be effectively fertilised, meaning that without pollination, it’s highly likely that we as a world would simply not have enough food to survive. Whilst there are various methods of pollination, including the wind, and other animals and insects, bees are simply able to pollinate plants on a much more significant scale. It’s for this reason that it’s believed that at least a third of the world’s food is dependent on pollination from bees specifically! To put this into perspective, current figures estimate that it would cost UK farmers up to £1.8 billion yearly to manually pollinate their crops – so we really have a lot to be grateful to bees for when it comes to the food industry! It’s worth noting that pollination also increases crops’ resistance when it comes to pests which can damage them – making bees particularly important for organic produce, too!
Whilst there are various schools of thought regarding the use of bees, particularly honey bees, for produce, it’s also worth noting that items like honey and beeswax are used globally, across food, cleaning, medical, and beauty industries, and greatly impact bees’ contribution to the economic, as well as environmental, wellbeing of the planet. In fact, recent figures suggest that bees contribute £691 million to the UK economy yearly.
How can I help preserve and care for bees?
Now that we all know exactly how incredible honey bees, and bees in general, are for the planet, let’s discuss some ways we can help them to thrive!
The most obvious way to help honey bees is to fill your garden (or allotment, or window box) with lots of bee-friendly flowers! These act as a source of food for bees, as well as other pollinating insects, and will allow them to thrive in your garden.
Bees also need lots of shelter, warmth, and a safe space to hibernate in – which is why another great way to help them is to create or buy a bee hotel for them to rest – or, in the case of solitary bees, for them to lay their eggs in! Just make sure you have plenty of bee-friendly flowers nearby to attract them to the hotel.
Finally, the easiest way to help bees at this time of year is to look after them in the heat with some sugar water. If you spot a bee lying on the ground on their own, chances are, they’re in need of some rest – flying from flower to flower during the hotter months can be seriously exhausting, and to produce just 1kg of honey, honey bees have to fly the equivalent of three times around the world! Grab some sugar and make a paste of 2 parts granulated white sugar to one part cold water, and place it close to the bee’s head so it can have a sip – if you have a small pipette, even better!
Happy World Honey Bee Day! We hope you found this post on these incredible creatures interesting, and, of course, do let us know if you use any of the above tips to help out your local bee population!