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11 Things You Didn't Know About Bees
The childhood memory I have of bees are of people running away whenever one flew close by. Scared by the idea of being stung, these flying insects seem to have a negative reputation.
That seems to be a little different now, especially since moving to Manchester, as the worker-bee symbol is stamped all over the city. From every bin and bollard to the pavement and plaque - there was even a dedicated sculpture trail in 2020.
Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is not only about buying plastic-free products, or cutting down on your meat intake, it's also about doing those little things to help out our native biodiversity.
As most of you probably know, bees play a vital role within our eco-system, too. It's vital we understand how bees make a positive impact on our planet and what we can do to help replenish their declining numbers.
Here are 11 things you didn't know about bees.
1. We need bees to be great pollinators
1 in 3 mouthfuls of human food is dependant on pollination. 90% of plants that grow in the wild and 75% of global crops are reliant on pollination. I think that says it all.
2. Tired bees can be revived
Mix 50/50 water and white sugar together and put a few drops onto a teaspoon. If you see a tired bee (one that looks like it's taking a little rest and not flying around), pop the spoon nearby and let it drink the liquid. Bees get tired too!
3. Bees have smelly feet
Yup, that's how they know if a plant or flower has already been pollinated. They have the ability to smell whether they've already visited that plant or if some other bee already has, so they can quickly move onto the next. Amazing eh?
4. Climate change has impacted their food sources
Climate change has flowers blooming at radically different times of the year, meaning bees have less to eat at the beginning of the season. That's where we can help by planting more bee-friendly flowers. Get your bee bombs here and start planting!
5. Bees don't just pollinate our food
Bees play a super important role in pollinating the food for other animals too. Think berries, nuts, seeds and fruit that are eaten by many wild animals. Without pollination, other foods simply wouldn't grow.
6. They help build houses for other animals
It's the same principle as providing food for other animals; bees also pollinate trees such as willows and poplars. These trees then grow to become homes for squirrels, insects and birds.
7. Pesticides kill bees
It's actually quite ironic when farmers use pesticides to protect crops from being eaten by insects. Pesticides can actually harm the bees who are trying to pollinate and help the growth of the plants.
8. All worker-bees are female
Worker-bees are direct offspring of the Queen bee, but there are far fewer male bees. Male bees are born with bigger eyes, which they use to identify young Queen bees. They then pack their bags and head off into the sunset to start their own colony.
9. Bees are attracted to certain colours
Bees are attracted to the colours blue and purple. So if you grow lavender, rosemary, blue bells, etc. you can expect to see more bees in your garden.
10. Bees can be found in everywhere around the world
Except for Antarctica. With over 20,000 different species of bees, they've adapted to their surroundings. That's why honey can taste so different, as the taste is effected by the plants that have been pollinated.
11. Have you flown around the world 3 times?
That's how far the average bee has to fly to produce 1kg of honey. It seems like quite a long journey and a hell of a lot of effort if you can ask me.
Hopefully this blog has helped you to realise just how impressive bees are and how much the human race relies on them.
What can you do to help prevent declining numbers of bees?
The easiest thing to do is to plant more bee-friendly plants in your garden. You can start with a native wildflower bee bomb but they also like lavender, foxgloves, honeysuckle, bluebells, rosemary, primrose, thyme, ivy and much more.