What’s Going On Here?

It’s Bees’ Needs Week here in the UK (8-15th July), which will see a week of activities to raise awareness of the importance of our yellow and black friends (and fellow pollinators)!

What Does This Mean?

This annual event helps us understand the importance of wasps, hoverflies, other flies, butterflies, moths and beetles within our daily lives!!

In celebration, Carnaby Street in London has been renamed Carnabee Street, featuring a pop-up Hive of educational and fun activities including a Bumblearium and honey tasting (someone had a lot of fun with the names for this event hey?!).

On Friday (12th July) there will also be a citizen-science project called Flower –Insect Timed (FIT) counts – where you count the number of pollinators that land on a patch of flowers within a 10-minute time period.

Why Should We Care?

Because bees and their fellow pollinators are in big trouble. And that spells trouble for all of us!

FYI – these guys are not the same as honeybees, which are benefiting from a surge in beekeeping and continue to be farmed for honey! Wild bees and other pollinators are not farmed and rely on natural flowers for pollination. It is these guys who are super helpful to us, but are also most at risk!

All pollinators are in decline due to a combination of climate change, high use of pesticides and a declining habitat that is suitable for pollination. Intensive farming of honey bees has even driven wild bees out of some areas, as well as transmitting new pathogens and viruses to wild pollinators. With many crops reproducing via pollination, loss of these species would have massive implications for agricultural production, with one third of our food production at risk.

Earlier this year it was estimated that wild bees have already declined by 10% and with growing pressure on agriculture to intensify production and reduction in natural, green space, this trend could continue unless action is taken.

However, this story is not all doom and gloom – progress is already being made to combat this problem. Last week it was shown how local authority action to turn unused green land into wildflower meadows has been a great success.

In The Netherlands, they’ve even turned bus stops into bee stops – helping to improve air quality, attract pollinators and create a bit of media buzz!

Bee Curious!

  • Head to Carnabee Street and participate in the fun activities, learning more about pollinators and how we can encourage them to continue to buzz around us for many years to come (and try some honey, how could you say no?)!
  • Participate in a Flower-Insect Timed Count – this is really important for us to understand locations and numbers of bees and fellow pollinators throughout the country, and only takes 10 minutes! 
  • Follow these simple tips for encouraging bees in your local area. From buying more organic produce to planting some bee-friendly flowers in your balcony/garden, little changes can have a noticeably positive impact in your local hood! 
  • Honey…honey doesn’t help! Unfortunately keeping honey bees doesn’t help save wild bees and other pollinators – the main focus is improving the natural environment for pollinators to thrive! 
  • And finally…don’t leave honey out on a spoon as per this fake news post that went viral in June. Bees need nectar, NOT honey!

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