Honeybees are essential to our ability to continue to grow crops, and their decline is rapidly threatening food security. There is a knock off effect and what is good for bees, is also good for us, the climate, and the environment. This makes the honeybee one of the world’s most important insects.
Bee populations, in Ireland and around the world, are currently in decline. The good news is there are many simple ways we can help bee populations bounce back.
How we can help the bees
- Support Local Beekeepers
Local beekeepers work hard to maintain their bees and the local and national bee community. The best way to show your support is to buy locally made honey and beeswax products. Raw honey comes straight from the hive and is unheated, unpasteurized, and undiluted, which means it retains all the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and delicious flavour.
- Shop Local
Supporting your local farmers is supporting local bees. Buy your local produce, vegetables and fruit, and honey, from the local shops, farmers market etc. The more you can support sustainable, earth-friendly agriculture the better. If you do not have access to local produce, eating organic will also help the bees.
- Provide Trees for Bees
Bees collect most of their nectar from trees and are a fantastic source of food for bees. One tree in bloom can provides thousands of sources of food for bees. Trees are not just a food source for the bees they also provide a habitat for the bees. Leaves on trees also provide nesting material and wood shelters for bees.
- Plant a Bee Garden
Planting a bee garden, you can create a habitat, which includes plants that are high in pollen and nectar for the Bees. Bee friendly gardens can be planted in small areas you do not necessarily need large spaces. There are also local organizations where you can find opportunities to plant in public and shared spaces.
- Bee-friendly Sprays
Synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides are very harmful to bees, and other insects. and should be avoided in your garden spaces. If you are using sprays do some research to find some natural, bee-friendly alternatives. Some sprays that are labelled organic can still be harmful so be sure to do your research before purchase.
- Plant Wildflowers
Planting a bee-friendly garden using wildflowers will ensure that bees continue to flourish and maintain their essential role in our ecosystem. Bees favour a meadow as it is like their natural habitat. Let a part of your garden grow wild bees love clover and dandelions. You could plant some wildflower seeds, ill you spend less time mowing your lawn.
- Create a Bee Bath
Foraging for nectar and pollen is busy work and the bees get very thirsty. A bee bath is a great way to provide refreshment for the bees in your area. It is easy to do make using a bird bath or bowl half fill it with clean water. Arrange pebbles or stones inside, to break the water’s surface and make it easy for the bees to land and take a refreshing drink.
There are many ways to support local bees without getting into beekeeping. So be part of the solution and take time to implement some of the small steps to make a big difference to the bee community.