The 10th of July marked don’t step on a bee day – an important day that serves as a reminder that the fate of the honey bee hangs in the balance. With bee numbers in some countries having halved in the last decade with no apparent cause, it is vital that we take care to maintain the bee population, pollination and honey production.
The key threats to bee colonies are:
- Parasites like the Varroa Mite, which sucks on the honey bee’s hymolymph (essentially its blood), and transmits lethal diseases. This can spread across entire colonies and cause them to collapse completely if not treated properly and in time.
- Diseases: The deformed wing virus is a deadly virus that is spread by the Varroa mite, whilst bees are also threatened by other diseases spread by bacteria and fungi. There are currently no cures for these diseases, but is an area of research that scientists are currently focusing on.
- A lack of diverse flora and fauna for bees to feast upon also poses a problem. They need a diverse selection of pollen and nectar options in order to survive and thrive, and so the lack of plants and flowers in urban areas is an obvious problem for the bees that live there.
- An improper use of pesticides: contact pesticides which are sprayed directly onto the crop can kill bees if they crawl onto the sprayed surface, and shouldn’t be sprayed in the blooming period as this is when the bee will use the flower for food.
It is important that we protect our bees. Globally there are more honey bees than other types of bees and pollenating insects, which means that they are most important pollinating species. Many of the fruits and vegetables that we eat require pollination, and so it is essential that we protect the population of honey bees in order to ensure that our fresh produce supply remains consistent.
So, we know that we need to save the bees, but what can we do to help save them?
- Avoid pesticides
- Plant a garden that is bee-friendly
- Plant more trees & flowers
- Create a bee bath
- Build bee homes
- Start a honeybee hive
- Support a local beekeeper
- Sponsor a hive
- Become a bee ambassador
These are all easy measures that we can take to save this valuable species. So take this day in the literal sense, and don’t step on a bee, but also think about other things that you can do that will have a wider impact on this small but mighty species.
If you are a conservation or ecology business looking to spread the word about the plight of the bees, why not use one of our bags as a marketing tool? We can print any designs, and help you to raise awareness for the plight of bees with a bag like this one that we designed with the iconic Manchester bee.
Comment below if you have any other tips to share with us about how to protect our bees.
Daisy from Bags of Ethics