The buzz about honeybees
The BBKA (British Bee Keeping Association) tell us what all the buzz about honeybees is and how we can adopt a beehive to help.
Often when we see bees buzzing around our garden, we can be a little apprehensive that they might fly a bit too close to us. However, bees are friendly creatures. Of course they’ll protect their nest, but they don’t really want to sting you. If they’re flying around you, they’re probably just drawn to the colour or scent you’re wearing. Once their curiosity is sated, they’ll move on. There are many reasons why we shouldn’t be afraid of these fabulous creatures and instead try to protect them at all costs.
Over the course of the last few years, the health of the UK honeybee population has been a subject of real concern. Poor weather, the loss of habitat, the destruction of bee colonies by the parasitic varroa mite and the continual uncertainty regarding the impact of pesticides have all affected the honey bee.
But why does this matter, and why are bees so important in nature?
Perhaps the most important reason is because bees are pollinators that are absolutely vital to our food chain. One third of the food we eat would not be available to us, were it not for pollinators, of which honeybees are the most prolific. In the UK, about 70 crops rely on, or benefit from pollination.
Although there are thousands of different, important types of pollinators in the insect world, the honeybee is unique in providing us with honey and products of the hive. It is the only managed insect on earth and as such is vital to our food chain, and quite possibly our wider health on this planet.
How to help the honey bee
Whatever the size of your garden, or window box, everyone can do their bit to help the honeybee by planting bee-friendly flowers and shrubs. Fruit trees, vegetables and herbs like rosemary, marjoram and thyme are great for the bees, as well as good for you too! So if you or your little one are a bit scared of honeybees, why not plant some pollinator friendly plants in your garden to see them at work?
For people who want to learn more about beekeeping, or to help the honeybee in other ways, the BBKA has its “Adopt a Beehive” scheme where members of the public can adopt a beehive from one of ten different regions in the UK.
It costs £36 to Adopt a Beehive for one year, and in exchange you receive a welcome box of bee-related goodies, as well as updates throughout the year from your beehive and beekeeper. All the profits from the scheme are ploughed into environmental and education projects to help save the honeybee, so you can help these vital pollinators without getting your hands sticky.