How Can I Help The Bees?
Most people by now, fully appreciate that bees need
help, and increasingly they are asking: What can I do? How can I help the bees?
Having campaigned for bees since 2008, it’s a huge relief to me that increasingly, so many people are wanting to help
these important pollinators.
Bees (and pollinators generally) are
not only vital to the ecosystem and to food production, they are endearing and
enchanting creatures in their own right.
As humans, isn’t it time for us to rethink the way we view nature,
because at the end of the day, we still know very little about how the myriad
strands of this great web of life, are intricately woven together.
We think we know much.....until we discover
something new that challenges our previous assumptions!
But anyway, back to the main topic of this page:
How Can I Help The Bees?
Note that when you help the bees, your actions by
default, will most probably benefit a whole host of other creatures. So here are a few pointers:
- Most importantly, focus on the efforts you yourself can
make in your own garden. Even if you
only have a small space, or a few containers, you can still create feeding
stations for bees. Take a look at these
resources to get informed about the variety of plants you can add to gardens
and planters, and see this general information about creating a bee garden.
There are so many simple changes that can be made, which are very often overlooked. For instance, I very much recommend allowing clover to flourish in your lawn (see my page about lawns for bees for more ideas).
Allow clover to flourish in your lawn, it will help bees and save mowing!
- Encourage solitary bees, with a solitary bee house.
Make one yourself or purchase one - ensure it's sturdy and durable like this one pictured right which is available from Amazon US
and Amazon UK.
A bee house also makes a great gifts for loved ones!
- There is no point in planting for bees, if you are nevertheless
going to poison them with pesticides.
Regardless of what the chemical companies say, it’s time to think in
terms of common sense.
How logical is it
that a chemical conveniently kills ‘pests’, but not the ‘useful insects’? Take a look at this interesting page on the
revealing information given in product patents, and see this examination of
Bayer’s termite killer, and reported effects on bees of the same chemical.
How Can I Help The Bees In My Community?
Ask Your Council To Help Bees
- Some tips here. Public
pressure creates change – even if not overnight. Ask your friends to get involved, and see the
ideas on the link provided.
- You could also get involved with groups (gardening,
conservation etc) and suggest a community garden, a ‘bee festival’ to raise
awareness, or you could write a few words for a local newsletter. Speak with your local garden centre and ask
them to stock more plants for bees, and to banish the use of insecticides such
as neonicotinoids, in the cultivation of the plants they sell. If you have children, encourage your school
to actively teach children about the importance of bees and other pollinators,
and to perhaps create a pollinator garden.
Lobby The Decision Makers
- It’s not just you and me – in my opinion, every
politician and environment policy–maker should also be asking themselves “What
can I do to help the bees?”. Sadly, some
are not doing nearly enough. Lobby your
politicians to do more to help bees and other pollinators, to cut the use of pesticides,
and support genuinely better farming practices.
Sign petitions and circulate them.
Many people think petitions are irrelevant, but in my view, as a minimum
each new petition keeps telling the politicians “this issue won’t go away, so
you really must do something positive to help our bees”.
Encourage Others To Help
- Spread the word.
Use social media, email, or whichever method suits you best. Share this page about clover and bees, or these 10
Tips to help the bees.
- Inspire the next generation.
If the children today are taught to love and
respect nature, including the bees, they will surely want to protect it.
See my page with links to resources for
inspiring children to love the bees.
A few more thoughts....
This excellent book: The War on Bugs provides fascinating insight into why the use of pesticides in
food production began, whilst this article about beneficial insects tells us
that most insect species are beneficial or harmless – so why do so many
gardening magazines focus on pests yet tell us little about our ‘garden bug
heroes’ (other than the obvious ones)?
to support organic if you can.
Why? Because buying organic helps
to support farming practice that is better for the environment, and at
ensures that particularly controversial pesticides that are toxic for
such as neonicotinoids, have not been used.
Even if you are on a limited budget it may be possible to purchase just
one or two things, at least it supports those farmers a little.
Better still, grow at least some of your own
food if you can – even just a few items in pots! And do
spread this excellent information from the Rodale Institute about the
performance of organic agriculture versus intensive methods. Nowadays, there are even people growing cut flowers on a small scale, and organically.
See my page
about going organic.
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