Organic September Day 9: Save the Bees

9 Sep 2015

Obviously I wasn't going to post every day for Organic September and not include a post about bees....so here it is! Organic farming is based on a system that works with nature, rather than against it meaning there are no genetically modified plants nor pesticides, making it a haven for bees!
There are 24 species of bumblebees in the UK. They are fluffy and different species have different length tongues as they feed on different flowers. They have suffered declines over the years due to the use of insecticides, bad weather and a reduction in wildflower rich grassland. 

Fun Fact. Bees have stinky feet. They leave their scent on flowers, which in turn means other bees won't waste their time on that flower as it will already have been pollinated.

There is only one species of honeybee in Europe and these live in hives that are tended by beekeepers in order to produce honey. Honeybees are in decline because of the varroa mite, which has spread through beehives since 1992. Honeybees are much slimmer and smaller than bumblebees and look more like a wasp, but don't fret...they will only sting you if they think you're going to harm them or their hive!

I'm going to share tips on how you can help to save the bees and also why you should always buy organic honey. 

1. Plant wildflowers and bee-friendly flowers
Bumblebees are in serious decline because there simply aren't as many wildflowers as there used to be. Countrysides are being changed into houses and buildings and land is being sprayed with pesticides that then kill the bees. To help, you can plant wildflowers in your garden and bee friendly flowers like lavender, borage, foxgloves, thistles and poppies. 

2. Get yourself a beehive
In the winter, solitary bumblebees need somewhere to rest so either buying or making your own bee house will help them. I like the look of this Bee Hive and I'll be buying it when I move into my new house for the garden. It is fully interactive and has individual cell trays so you can keep an eye on any bees using the hive and clean it out when necessary. Once bees come into this hive they will lay eggs, ensuring more will come the next season; thus increasing the number bees year on year. 
3. Buy organic honey
When you buy organic honey, this means that the bees have been foraging on plants that haven't been sprayed with insecticides which in turn helps in reducing the decline in bees and means you're not eating the harmful pesticides either. It is also helpful to the beekeepers who keep these bees safe! Organic hives are not allowed to use non-organic honey, sugar or antibiotics and the hive must be situated in an organic area. 

4. Donate to bee charities
There are a few charities that you can donate money to, as a one-off or as a subscription such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust or the Soil Association.

5. Adopt a beehive
You can adopt a beehive through the British Beekeepers Association. In turn you will get seasonal updates from your local Adopted beekeeper and learn all about the joys and challenges of their beehives. You will also receive a welcome pack full off bee goodies including:
- A jar of honey
- A pack of pollinator-friendly Habitat Aid wildflower seeds
- A pocket guide to the honey bee
- A lip balm from Burt’s Bees

You can choose the area in which you support the beekeeper so I would choose East Midlands and it costs just £30.

6. Buy from brands who support bee conservation charities
There are quite a few brands who donate a % of their profits to charity. Brands include Beefayre, Neal's Yard Remedies and one of my latest finds is Creature Candy. There's also Nectar & Bumble which is my own new online store where I stock Beefayre, Therapi, Creature Candy & our own branded prints and notebooks.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and it encourages you to do at least one things on this list, if you aren't already!

Amber


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