We need the bees, now the bees need us
-by Dan Coultas
Heathens of Yorkshire recently donated £50 to support PaganAid's bee campaign, which is raising money for the charity Bees for Development, as well as raising awareness of the plight of bees, why they are so important, and what we can do to help.
Pollinators are one of the most important parts of any of our world’s ecosystems. Without them many plants will not be able to reproduce, meaning all parts of the food chain would suffer, including we humans.
Without pollinators life as we know it could not exist and now our pollinators are under threat. Urbanisation, pollution, climate change and bee killing pesticides (which are banned under EU law, with some countries now being given permission to use again) are all taking their toll on the global bee population. We have to do something to reverse this decline before it is too late, and that is why PaganAid’s latest campaign is focused on saving the bees.
All money donated from the campaign will be passed on to Bees for development, who help some of the world’s poorest people to build resilient livelihoods through beekeeping. This means that not only is the global bee population protected, but people are given the tools to help themselves out of poverty in an environmentally sustainable way.
There is also plenty that we can do to help the bees here in Britain. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Plant a Bee Garden
One of the largest threats to bees is a lack of safe habitat where they can build homes and find a variety of nutritious food sources. By planting a bee garden, you can create a habitat corridor with plants that are rich in pollen and nectar. You don’t need a ton of space to grow bee-friendly plants — gardens can be established across yards and in window boxes, flower pots, and planters. You can also get involved with local organisations and governments to find opportunities to enrich public and shared spaces.
2. Go Chemical-Free for Bees
Synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides, and neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, wreaking havoc on their sensitive systems. Avoid treating your garden and green spaces with synthetics. Instead, use organic products and natural solutions such compost to aid soil health and adding beneficial insects that keep pests away like ladybugs and praying mantises.
3. Provide Trees for Bees
Did you know that bees get most of their nectar from trees? When a tree blooms, it provides hundreds — if not thousands — of blossoms to feed from. Trees are not only a great food source for bees, but also an essential habitat. Tree leaves and resin provide nesting material for bees, while natural wood cavities make excellent shelters. With deforestation and development on the rise, you can help bolster bee habitats by caring for trees and joining tree-planting parties in your area.
4. Create a Bee Bath
Bees work up quite a thirst foraging and collecting nectar. Fill a shallow bird bath or bowl with clean water, and arrange pebbles and stones inside so that they break the water’s surface. Bees will land on the stones and pebbles to take a long, refreshing drink.
5. Build Homes for Native Bees
Did you know that, with the exception of honeybees, most bees are solitary creatures? 70% of solitary bees live underground, while 30% live in holes inside of trees or hollow stems. Species like bumble bees build their nests in undisturbed land, and you can provide safe haven for them by leaving an untouched plot of land for them in your garden! “Bee condos” — which have small tube “apartments” — allow species like mason bees to take up residence. They’re easy to make or purchase.
6. Support Local Beekeepers and Organisations
Local beekeepers work hard to nurture their bees and the local community. The easiest way to show your appreciation is to buy locally-made honey and beeswax products. Many beekeepers use products from their hives to create soaps, lotions, and beeswax candles. Plus, local honey is not only delicious — it is made from local flora and may help with seasonal allergies! You can also give time, resources, and monetary donations to local beekeeping societies and environmental groups to help their programs grow.
And of course if like us you want to support PaganAid's bee campaign you can donate via the campaign page here: virginmoneygiving.com/fund/beards4bees
If you are feeling adventurous you can even sign up to grow to sponsored #beard4bees!
For more information about PaganAid, or to become a member, visit paganaid.org