Bees, bees! BEES!

I bet you can’t guess what this blog post is going to be about? B-)

Over the past couple of years I have been taking an interest in the plight of the Bee. It’s a fact that they are one of the biggest pollinators in the country, without them our agricultural economy would likely collapse. They are ESSENTIAL. No two ways about it.

Now, I am not a big lobbyist that can talk to the government. I’m not a famous person that can influence public opinion. All I can do is to try my best in MY little world. This means me planting Bee friendly plants, giving Bees access to food and sustenance. It’s not just a case of planting Bee friendly flowers though, it’s also about WHAT KIND of flowers you plant, what time of year will they flower? Different Bees need different plants. Are you hoping to attract short tongue bees? Long tongue Bees? Honey Bees? It’s a lot more difficult than I first expected!

Here in the UK we have 24 species of bumblebees, around 225 species of solitary bee and just a single species of honeybee. Catering for them all is going to be a true nightmare for a single garden!

A Mason Bee. This is one of the Solitary Bees.

So what can we all do? There is no one simple answer to this question…. I wish there was! The first thing we can do is to plant some Bee friendly plants. Talk to your local council and try to get them to stop cutting the grass where it isn’t necessary and allow wild-flowers to flourish on road verges and unused open spaces.  We can also help bees by making and putting up Bee hotels and stopping using harsh pesticides.

Another thing you can do is to donate to a charity. With that money you can help others do research and lobby to our Government on your behalf. We can’t do things on our own… Also consider signing petitions to stop pesticides from being used so much and neonicotinoids in particular.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust – @BumblebeeTrust

Another thing we can do is to educate ourselves. The BBCT link above you can learn about what plants are good and what kinds of Bee you can find in your garden. Not only that but what other little tricks you can do in your garden… Such as leaving a few small patches of bare earth so that solitary bees can use it to plug their hotels. Also… Something that a HUGE group of people need to learn is about Bees and which sting and which don’t. You can learn more about this Here

Another thing… If you are unsure what Bees you have in your garden or whatever… I recommend this. It’s a little chart that you can put up on a wall or wherever… Very useful for the most common of Bees.

If you are on Twitter you may want to follow a couple of the more active Bee enthusiasts,

Brigit Strawbridge @B_Strawbridge
Bumblebee Watching @Bumble_Watching
TheBeesKneesUK @BeckTBK

Also consider following the hashtag “#BumblebeeWatching“. Some great pics on that one!

Whatever it is that you do I just hope that you, if nothing else, take a little time and look out for these wonderful little creatures. If we lose them we lose more than you probably realise.

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