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Bee Kind: 10 ways to help protect bees and give nature a boost

Honeybee on flower

We’ve all heard the familiar buzz on a warm sunny day of a bee going about its business dipping in and out of flowers to collect nectar. But what many of us may not realise is just how important bees, and other pollinators, are for our natural ecosystems and even global food supplies.

When bees collect nectar, they also unintentionally collect a powdery yellow substance called pollen on their legs. As they move from flower to flower, little bits of this pollen will drop off inside other flowers where it can then start the flower’s reproduction cycle. This is what’s known as pollination.

It’s estimated that around a third of all the food we consume worldwide is dependent on pollination by honeybees. And with a single honeybee visiting thousands of flowers in one day, it’s clear to see how vital they are.

Sadly, bee populations worldwide are increasingly under threat from the use of toxic pesticides and habitat destruction due to climate change and human activities.

There are, however, plenty of really easy ways we can all help protect and preserve our local bees!

Here are just a few to get you started:

  1. 🌼 Plant bee-friendly flowers in your garden or on your balcony. Bees depend on nectar and pollen from flowers for their survival so planting a variety of plants can help provide them with the food they need.
  2. 🛑 Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your garden, especially during the flowering season when bees are active. Chemicals in pesticides and herbicides can be harmful to bees and other pollinators and can kill them. Opt instead for organic and natural alternatives.
  3. 🏨 Create bee nesting sites. Install ‘bee houses’ or ‘bee hotels’ in your garden to provide nesting sites for solitary bees. These can be bought from garden centres or made yourself by drilling holes in wood or by bunching together hollow plant stems or bamboo canes.
  4. 🍯 Support local beekeepers. If you like to eat honey, try and buy it from local beekeepers who practice sustainable and ethical beekeeping methods. This helps ensure the viability of beekeeping and the availability of healthy honeybee colonies.
  5. 📣 Advocate for bee-friendly policies. Get involved in local conservation organisations or campaigns that promote policies supporting bee conservation. Encourage your community to adopt bee-friendly practices, like wildflower planting and reduced grass mowing.
  6. 💚 Be mindful when mowing. Bumblebees often nest underground, so check your lawn before cutting and consider leaving portions of your lawn to grow wild to provide shelter and food for bees.
  7. 💡 Limit artificial lighting at night. Artificial lighting can disrupt bee behaviour and navigation, so try to minimise outdoor lights after dark. A good way to do this is to install motion-sensing lighting, to provide a more natural environment for nocturnal pollinators.
  8. 🍎 Go organic where possible. When shopping for food, choose products that support organic production. Organic standards promote bee-friendly practices, including the prohibition of certain pesticides, providing healthier ecosystems for bees and other pollinators.
  9. 📚 Learn about bees. Take time to educate yourself, your kids and others about the importance of bees and the challenges they face. Understanding their vital role as pollinators can help you make more informed decisions and advocate for their conservation.
  10. 🐝 Know bee first aid. If you come across a sleepy or lethargic bee, try offering it a simple sugar-water solution to boost its energy. This can be easily made by mixing equal parts water and granulated sugar – just pop it in a spoon near the bee and let it help itself.

Every action, no matter how small, can make a positive impact on the health and survival of our bees.

Just by making some small changes in our lives, we can all help protect these tiny superheroes and give nature the boost it needs for a sustainable future.

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