10 Bee-rilliant bee facts for #BeesNeeds week!

Common carder bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum) foraging on Verbenum flowers (Verbenum bonariensis) in Wiltshire garden, UK, September. - Nick Upton/2020VISION

#BeesNeeds week is a campaign to help raise awareness of bees (and other pollinators), as we rely on them to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. But our bees are under threat, and without them so is our environment, food and economy.

Here are 10 interesting facts and ways you can do your bit to help the bees.

1) Perfect pollinators

Many think that bees just provide us with honey – but they are behind most of the food that we eat, including fruit and vegetables (and even coffee!). If we lost our bees, it would cost farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate our crops – food would be more expensive and our economy would suffer.

 

2) Dancing bee

To share information about the best food sources, bees perform their ‘waggle dance’. They move in a figure of eight and waggle its body to indicate the direction of the food source.

 

3) Number of bees in a hive

During the summer, there are around 35,000-40,000 bees in a hive. However, during the winter there are only 5,000 bees.

 

4) Speed + Distance = Busy Bee

A strong colony flies the equivalent distance from the Earth to the Moon every day! The top speed a worker bee can reach is around 15-20mph, and around 12mph when returning with nectar, pollen, propolis, or water.

 

5) Bee-friendly spaces

Places that are good for pollinators are good for people too – they are natural green spaces. It indicates that the area is a healthy environment with clean air and water. These natural green spaces are also important if we are going to cope with a changing climate.

 

6) More species than you think

There are over 270 species of bees in Great Britain.

 

7) Bees in decline

35 species of bees are considered under threat of extinction. The known causes of this include changes in land use, habitat loss, disease, pesticides, farming practices, pollution, invasive non-native plant and animal species, and climate change.

 

8) Bee-friendly garden

Help make a huge difference by planting wildflowers and flowers that are rich in nectar, or keep your grass long to allow a section of your garden to become a little meadow.

 

9) Bee hotel

You can also add a bee hotel to your garden to provide shelter and a home for one of the 200 species of solitary bees that need individual nests. You could drill holes into a piece of dead wood, provide a bundle of dried hollow plant stems or get a luxury bee hotel.

 

10) Local honey

Another (delicious) way you can help the British honey bees is by buying local honey – and other local honey/bee products. This will help support the beekeepers that look after our local bees.

 

For more information or more facts on bees – please visit the Friends of the Earth website.