Help The Bees
By Bee-ing The Change You Wish To See In The World

Coastal Leafcutter Bee - Megachile maritima - female - foraging on restharrow.Coastal Leafcutter Bee - Megachile maritima - female - foraging on restharrow.

We can all do our bit to help the bees (and here, I’m talking about all types of bees, including those unsung heroes of the pollinating world: solitary and bumble bees, as well as honey bees).

Helping bees starts with awareness. Of course, we instinctively know what’s good for bees and what is not.

Orange-legged furrow bee - Halictus rubicundus (female) on slender thistle - Carduus tenuiflorus.Orange-legged furrow bee - Halictus rubicundus (female) on slender thistle - Carduus tenuiflorus.

A large part of this website highlights how the two issues above are causing problems for bees (and indeed, other pollinators and invertebrates generally).

Habitat decline is worrying, and is being lost to development, farming and land management practice, and even gardening trends - although increasingly, I am pleased to see that work is being done to reverse these trends - gardeners are including plants for bees and some government bodies and councils are creating more pollinator verges.

The use of pesticides is of real concern. They are not only used on farmland to grow crops, they are also used (sometimes preventatively – how crazy is that?) on lawns, golf courses, and may even be present within commercially grown pot plants you buy from the garden centre.   Then of course, there are the garden pesticides, and those spread by local councils.

Bumble bee foraging on poppy.Bumble bee foraging on poppy.

However, if we really want change, then it starts with you and me.

Gandhi said – ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’

I like to think of it in terms of bee-ing the change.......

Although I started out as a committed campaigner back in 2008, these days with a huge amount of work and creating pressure to create regulatory change, I started focusing a lot more on the positive, practical steps the general public can take to help the bees.

Honey bee Apis mellifera on solidago (golden rod).Honey bee Apis mellifera on solidago (golden rod).

How can YOU help the bees?

  • Helping bees is not rocket science.  You can start with these top 10 tips to help the bees.  Collectively, a big difference can be made.
  • If possible, grow your own organic produce (it's cheap and easy). If you haven't got around to this (and believe me, some produce can be grown in pots on a balcony), then buy organic - or at least some organic produce if you can.   See my page: Eating Organic.

Common carder bumble bee flying toward raspberry flower.Common carder bumble bee flying toward raspberry flower.

  • Communicate with local councils and politicians - ask them to create pollinator verges and consider bees and pollinators in the creation of public planting schemes.  More information about how councils can help the bees here.  I also think it's a very good idea to give positive feedback when councils and politicians genuinely take helpful action.

  • If you have plants for bees in your garden that can easily be divided or shared, pass them on to friends, neighbours, schools, gardening clubs or whoever would be interested in receiving them.  You never know you may receive a few plants in return!

Final words...

I have come across campaigners who spend a lot of time telling other people and government what actions they must take, whilst not following their own advice themselves.  If I did not try my best to help the bees in my own garden, I'd be a hypocrite as far as I'm concerned.

The fact is that if we want to help the bees, it really is WE PEOPLE who have the power to create the change that will help them - and it starts by doing what we can in our own gardens and in our own communities.

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