It's been a decade since U.S beekeepers raised the alarm on the decline of 1000's of hives of honey bees, but it quickly became clear that this was not only a U.S problem, but a worldwide situation. Even more alarming, was that it was soon realized that not only honey bees were affected, but populations of wild bees were declining too!
Losing bees is not only tragic for them, but it has tragic consequences for us too. Bees pollinate up to a third of our edible crops, an industry valued at around $168 billion worldwide each year.
Since the alarm was first raised, many countries have created new methods to keep track of their bee stock, resulting in increased research and data around the health and well being of bees.
The upside of this is that there is now more understanding around the collapse of bee colonies, however, it is now clear that this is a complex problem with many contributing factors. Although it is not unsolvable.
For all bees, foraging and pollinating is a hard life. It takes huge amounts of energy to travel, often long distances, carrying nectar and pollen to the hive. It takes memory, spatial awareness, and finely tuned senses to be able to do this. However, environmental factors such as diesel fumes and pesticides, can inhibit the bees ability to safely make it back to the hive, and when they are unable to do so, they are as good as dead.
Climate change also factors into the cause, as it interferes with the relationship between bee and plant and can disturb the bees nutrition.
So What Can we do?
Planting plenty of bee friendly plants in close proximity to each other can provide more opportunity for pollination. Keeping these plants free of chemicals and pesticides creates a healthy and safe haven for bees.
Providing a bee bath is another easy step to help the bees to keep going. A shallow bath or dish with some stones to rest on will do just perfectly. A safe place for bees to hydrate and rest while making their long trips can be hugely beneficial to their survival.
There are also loads of non-profit organizations that work to help the survival of bee colonies, that you can donate to. Our pick is, of course, beeinformed.org