As it does every year, World Bee Day will take place on May 20th, to coincide with the birthday of Anton Janša, who pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in the 18th Century. And with the pandemic having negatively impacted the beekeeping industry, it is more vital than ever to raise the awareness of the importance of bees.
What are Pollinators?
Pollinators are animals that transfer pollen between plants, and they play a huge role in allowing food crops to reproduce. There are different pollinator species in the world, but some of the most common are butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, and of course, bees.
Why are they important?
The most popular pollinators in the world are bees. In fact, pollinators, like bees, impact 35% of the world’s agricultural land, meaning that over a third of food has been at least partly pollinated by animals. And it’s more than just food that pollinators are useful for. Pollination also contributes to the creation of medicines, biofuels, fibres such as cotton and linen, and construction materials.
But the 25,000 to 30,000 species of bee are under threat. Due to human impacts, current extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times higher than normal. If this trend were to continue, many crops such as fruit and nuts would become less readily available, meaning imbalances to the human diet, and a lack of biodiversity.
What can I do?
Protecting bees can start at home, and it’s really easy to get involved! Planting bee-friendly plants like daisies and heather can help to attract them to your garden, and once they’re present, do your bit by helping them to flourish. You can achieve this by leaving a dish filled with water and pebbles, in case they get thirsty. Furthermore, by leaving a section of your garden to grow wild, this will provide the bees with much-needed shade when the weather heats up. It’s also critical to not use pesticides, fungicides or herbicides anywhere in your garden, as these can prove extremely harmful to bees. And, if you know one, choose to buy your honey from a beekeeper, and help local businesses!
If you want to go even further, you can visit ‘worldbeeday.org’, and take part in one of their annual meetings, which will be held virtually this year.
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