September is Bee Awareness Month! Being kind to bees should be something we strive for throughout every month of the year, but I certainly won’t say no to 4 weeks of dedicated appreciation.
My love for bees began when I planted my very first vegetable garden and over time my passion snowballed until to the point of becoming a backyard beekeeper!
I’ve had multiple years of first-hand experience learning about these incredible little creatures, and now I’m here to give you some more info on why we should help to save the bees instead of running away in fear (unless you’re allergic… Then I totally empathize with you)!
WHY ARE BEES SO IMPORTANT?
No bees… Literally no life.
Bees are the fastest pollinating insects on the planet and are essential in keeping the Earth healthy and thriving. Without them, a huge variety of plants wouldn’t exist — I know that might not sound like a big deal to some, but when so many different species are dependent on the survival of these plants, it’s pretty important.
And guess what… Humans are one of them!
These little friends pollinate up to 70 of the top 100 human food crops, and it’s said that one out of every three bites of food that humans consume have been pollinated by bees. So if you want to keep surviving, we need to keep the bees surviving too.
Even if you personally choose not to support animal products, it’s important to remember that if you eat any kind of fruit or vegetable, you are utilizing bees! Our delicious fresh produce literally wouldn’t bee here without them (pun intended).
They may be small, but these tiny little creatures are the hardest workers on this planet. One bee colony can pollinate up to 300 million flowers each day, preserving this beautiful Earth and keeping thousands of different species alive while they’re at it.
Photo by Paul Morris
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP SAVE THE BEES?
Support Sustainable Beekeepers… Even if you’re Vegan
There are a lot of companies and beekeepers that cause harm to bees; they pump them up with glucose, replace their honey with harmful sugar alternatives, often cut off the Queen’s wings and will sometimes destroy the hive during the winter months…
So by absolutely no means am I suggesting that eating honey is always a positive, but!
There are beekeepers that put the bees first, who truly care about their safety and who strive to do positive things for their future — and the future of the environment too.
I’m definitely not recommending that we start eating honey with every meal or bathing in it at night, but supporting the people that are striving to increase the bee population and maintain a healthy environment is very important. Whether you choose to buy honey from a sustainable beekeeper or make a simple donation, that is totally up to you! But supporting the people that are doing good for the future of bees, is doing good for your own future too.
Buy Organic and Pesticide-Free Products
Pesticides, fungicides and herbicides are a recipe for disaster for bees. When they crawl along any plant that has been sprayed with these harmful ingredients, their future is unfortunately very grim.
Always read the labels and buy local, organic produce that hasn’t been treated with these nasties. And if you have a garden of your own, avoid these sprays if you can!
Research the best native flowers that will attract bees in your area, and plant them around your home! For those like me who live in Australia, here are some bee-attracting plants that I would recommend:
+ Lavender, Rosemary, Bottlebrush, Sage, Tea Tree and Flowering Gums.
+ If you have a veggie garden — Calendula, Marigolds, Sunflowers, Poached Egg Flowers and a variety of Herbs are amazing co-planting options!
This beautiful artwork ^ by Olivia Hannah is a great reference tool!
If you can, grow your own fruit and veg!
Growing your own produce means that you’re avoiding the products that have been contaminated by the nasty chemicals I mentioned above. You’ll have peace in knowing that you’re eating organic, homegrown food where absolutely no bees have been harmed!
Give the Bees a Drink
Even if you don’t have a garden, giving the bees a place to stop for a drink can save their lives!
Grab a bucket of water and float a big supply of corks in it — this will give the bees a landing pad and a place to stand while they drink. Alternatively, you can get a shallow bowl and put some rocks in it for them to stand on, but make sure they haven’t been contaminated with any pesticides.
Super easy, but the bees will be very grateful!
If you ever find a bee that seems to be a bit sluggish and unwell, give it a sugar solution of 1 part sugar, to 1 part water. Put a few drops onto a hard surface, or leave the solution on a spoon and hope that the bee will drink. But never give them honey!
Recognize the difference between Bees and Wasps
Honey bees are vegetarians!
They don’t want to hurt you and they certainly don’t want to intentionally sting you. They are gentle in nature and only strive to collect pollen from flowers to take back to their hive. They may land on you and give you a sniff, but they will only sting you if they sense fear… So stay calm! They will only get in your way if you get in theirs.
Wasps are carnivores!
They like to hang around your food and are quite aggressive predators. Their bodies are slender and shiny in appearance and can often attack unexpectedly. They eat other insects and are important in the sense that they control the insect population.
Although they may look quite similar, bees and wasps are actually totally different!
Educate yourself on their Importance
Take the time to research the beautiful things that bees do for YOU, and for the place that you call home. Once you truly discover how important they are, you’ll no longer be wanting to kill every one that you see!
Don’t Kill Them!
And on that note, please, please, PLEASE don’t hurt them! If you find a bee in your home, don’t go straight to the bug spray… Use a glass to trap and release it outside instead. If you find a nest that isn’t in a suitable place, call someone to safely remove it to a new location.
I very much understand the fear, especially for those with allergies, but if you have the ability to save the bees without risking your life and your health… Please do!
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