INTERNATIONAL NEWS - You need bees, your garden needs bees, and if we are all to eat and survive, the world needs bees! Why? Because these busy little creatures are the pollinators of more than a third of all our food crops and about 90% of wildflowers, ensuring they survive, thrive, and flourish, explains South Coast Sun.
However, at home and abroad, bee populations are on a rapid decline. So, with World Bee Day coming up on May 20, here’s what you can do to save the bee.
First and foremost, ensure your garden, potted patio, balcony or yard is filled with the plants that will supply them with what they need – forage or bee food.
For bees, their forage or food supply consists of nectar and pollen from blooming plants within flight range. The forage sources for honey bees are an important consideration for beekeepers. If you’re not sure which plants are bee-friendly, download Candide, a free, social and eco-conscious gardening app that will tell you which plants are most bee-welcoming.
“If there’s one species more than any other that you’d call the gardeners best friend… it’s the bee,” said Candide’s Shani Krige.
“Through their intuitive cross-pollination system, they keep alive a whole range of plants from flowers and shrubs to vegetables, herbs, and trees. And it’s this variety, this biodiversity that creates a healthy environment that can support all living things – great, small, and tiny. In nature, everything is connected one way or another and the bee is the single most vital connector.”
According to Krige, there are many plants that bees love, often with brightly coloured and scented flowers.
“On the app, in the ‘discover’ section, you’ll find information about the best bee-attracting plants to have in your garden, starting with Aloes, Vygies, Clivia, Daisies, Proteas, Ericas, Cape Honeysuckle, and Rosemary,” added Krige.
Users will also find lots of bee facts, learn how to make a bee bait box, and meet a whole community of local and international bee-minded people.
“You may even already have a selection of bee-friendly plants in your garden, if you’re not sure, use our newly developed Plant ID function in the Knowledge section of the app to find out,” said Krige.
The decline in bee numbers also impacts the production of honey, that precious golden liquid beloved since the dawn of time for its healing and nutritious properties.
In its lifetime, one bee will make less than a quarter spoonful of honey, and to make a 450g jar of pure, raw honey, 60,000 bees would have to travel nearly 90,000 km and visit more than 2 million flowers.
With honey consumption on the increase, we simply can’t afford to lose a single bee, because each one is responsible for between 10 and 100 pollen foraging trips in one day, visiting up to 5,000 flowers. Plus, the Queen Bee, while she doesn’t actually move, definitely does her bit by laying up to 1,000 eggs in 24 hours.
Bees are threatened for many reasons, but mainly due to habitat loss, monocropping agriculture, climate change, diseases and viruses, and an increase in pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified foods.