To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20th May as World Bee Day. As Bees and other pollinators are increasingly under threat from the activities of humans it is of ever increasing importance to raise awareness and protect them.
Why 20th May?
The date was chosen as it is the birthday of Anton Jansa, a pioneer of modern beekeeping during the 18th century in his native Slovenia. He is noted to have praised the bees for their ability to work hard while needing so little attention.
Why do we need Bees?
We all depend on Bees and other pollinators for the survival of our ecosystems. The UN tell us ‘Nearly 90% of the world’s wild flowering plant species depend, entirely, or at least in part, on animal pollination, along with more than 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of global agricultural land. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity.’
Why are Bee numbers declining?
Bees face several threats with the loss of habitat being a huge concern. As woodlands and natural green spaces reduce in size Bees loose important food sources and natural homes. Some pesticides can also be a threat to Bees as they can be ingested while the Bee is on the plant, this can seriously damage the Bee’s central nervous system.
What can we do to help Bees and pollinators?
- Plant native species of flowering plants
- Plant a selection of plants that flower at different times of the year
- Avoid using synthetic pesticides and fungicides if possible
- Plant a tree for the Bees – trees are a great source of food for Bees as well as providing nesting material
- Build a home for solitary Bees
- Support local Beekeepers by buying locally made honey and beeswax products