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  • Writer's pictureDr Willard Wigan MBE

The Buzz About Bees. Celebrate World Bee Day, Pollinators, Yummy Honey and Learn How to Help Bees

Good morning, nature enthusiasts and garden lovers! Today, we're diving into the fascinating world of bees. It's the perfect time to raise awareness about these incredible insects and inspire you to join the movement to protect and care for them. Bees are essential to our ecosystem; understanding their importance is the first step in ensuring the survival of the bees. Let's explore why bees matter, the different types of bees, and the simple actions you can take to attract and support them in your garden.

Bee in the eye of a needle by Dr Willard Wigan MBE
Discover the importance of bees.

Why World Bee Day, Pollinators, Honey Matters

Bees play a crucial role in pollinating plants, which is vital for food production and biodiversity. Here are some compelling reasons why we should protect and care for bees:

  • Pollination Powerhouses: Bees poll about 75% of the world's flowering plants, including approximately 35% of global food crops. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that are essential to our diets.

  • Biodiversity Boosters: By pollinating a wide variety of plants, bees help maintain healthy ecosystems and support the habitats of many other wildlife species.

  • Economic Importance: The global economic value of bee pollination is estimated to be hundreds of billions annually. Without bees, the cost of pollinating crops would rise significantly, leading to higher food prices.

  • Environmental Indicators: Bees are indicators of environmental health. A decline in bee populations often signals broader ecological issues, such as habitat loss, pollution, and climate change.

Bee pollinating a yellow flower.
Bee pollinating a flower.

Understanding World Bee Day

World Bee Day, celebrated on May 20th, was established by the United Nations to highlight the importance of bees and other pollinators. This day aims to raise awareness about the threats bees face and encourage global efforts to protect them. It's a time for individuals, communities, and governments to come together and take action to support bee conservation. Bees, World Bee Day, Pollinators, Honey

Types of Bees

There are over 20,000 species of bees, each playing a unique role in their ecosystems. Here are some common types:

  • Honeybees: Known for their honey production, they are social insects living in large colonies. They are excellent pollinators and are often used in commercial agriculture.

Bee-friendly wildflowers
Bee-friendly collecting pollen for honey
  • Bumblebees: These large, fuzzy bees are also social and live in smaller colonies. Bumblebees are important pollinators, especially in cooler climates where honeybees are less active.

  • Solitary Bees: Unlike social bees, solitary bees do not live in colonies. Each female builds her own nest. Examples include mason bees and leafcutter bees, both of which are highly efficient pollinators.

Honeycomb cell and bees
Bees making honey, honeycomb cell.

Small Things Matter - How You Can Help Bees

Protecting bees starts in our backyards. Here are some simple steps you can take to attract and support bees in your garden:

  • Plant Bee-Friendly Flowers: Choose a variety of native plants that bloom at different times of the year to provide a continuous food source. Examples include lavender, sunflowers, and wildflowers.

  • Avoid Pesticides: Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides, which can be harmful to bees. Opt for natural pest control methods instead.

Bees like drinking water World Bee Day, Pollinators, Honey
Bees drinking water
  • Provide Water: Place shallow water dishes with pebbles or stones for bees to land on and drink.

  • Create Habitat: Leave some areas of your garden wild and undisturbed to provide nesting sites for solitary bees. You can also install bee houses or hotels.

World Bee Day, Pollinators, Honey, Bee Hotel
Bee habitat. hotel
  • Support Local Beekeepers: Buy honey and other bee products from local, sustainable sources to support beekeepers who prioritize bee health.

Jars of honey made by bees
Honey in jars made by bees

Resources to Learn More

To deepen your knowledge about bees and their conservation, check out these resources:

1. Books: "The Bees in Your Backyard" by Joseph S. Wilson and Olivia Messinger Carril, and "A World Without Bees" by Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum.

2. Websites: 

   - The Bee Conservancy

   - Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

   - Pollinator Partnership

3. Documentaries: "More Than Honey" and "Vanishing of the Bees"

Watch Now - The Amazing World of Bees -

bees, World Bee Day, pollinators, bee conservation, honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, attract bees, bee-friendly garden, protect bees

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