Following on from our last post where we talked about the dangers that wild bees are currently facing, in this post we will look at what measures are needed to help save bees from going extinct over the coming years, and also what you can do at home to help save the bees...
There are multiple charities and projects worldwide that are now working and campaigning to help save the bees. They are working on replenishing habitats, reducing the vast use of pesticides and eliminating disease. You can help by donating to one of these charities, but you can also help by making changes around the home too!
How can YOU help bees?
Create more habitat
Grow plants that wild bees need
Because there are various species of bee that are active throughout various times of the year and need a variety of species of plant, it would be a good thing to create diverse planting of flowers in your garden. Plant an array of flowers that are rich in pollen of all different shapes, sizes, colours and that flower at different points of the year from early spring to autumn, such as lavender, aliums, foxglove, honeysuckle, snapdragons, clematis, bluebell, crocus, primrose, campanula, delphinium, geranium, hollyhock, dahlia, globe thistle, heather, ivy and sedum. Avoid flowers that have little to no pollen such as multi-petalled flowers.
Scatter wild flower seeds wherever you can - either between plants or if you have a spare bed or ground where you can scatter some wildflower seeds, or even install a green roof on your shed or garage filled with beautiful wild flowers. Wild flower seed mixes can be bought specifically for bees in shops or online and contain wild varieties such as cornflower, poppy, forget-me-not, knapweed, marjoram, scabious and marigold.
Plant winter and early spring flowering trees and shrubs that a variety of wild bees are attracted to, such as abelia, pussy willow, apple, hawthorn, wild cherry, willow, hazel, buddleja, rhododendron.
Create bee houses
Solitary bees such as mason bees, leafcutter bees and yellow faced bees will live and nest in holes and cracks in wood etc. To help these species of bee to thrive it's a great idea to install bee houses in your garden. These can be bought in shops and online or can easily be made at home if you fancy a bit of DIY.
The bees will also need fresh drinking water. A drinking pool can easily be made by filling a shallow container with fresh water and placing rocks and pebbles to give the bees somewhere safe to land. Or these can also be bought online. Drinking stations will need to be placed in a cool, shaded area near to flower beds.
Help to cut agricultural land and re-wild our countryside
We currently use over 70% of all land for farming. If we reduce the farming and land used, those areas would soon regrow with native flora and fauna and naturally re-wild, again creating habitats that are needed for wild bees to survive.
77% of the agricultural land is used for animal agriculture, either as land for grazing or land to grow animal feed. Albeit, animal products only equate to 17% of world calories. Therefore cutting out our consumption of animal products would be a very effective way for us at home to help re-wild the land for bees.
Cutting out your consumption of animal products would also be an effective way to help climate change...
Help to stop climate change
There are many factors that contribute to the climate crisis, which in turn effect wild bees. The most effective ways you can personally help climate change at home are...
Eat a plant-based diet
Studies show that animal agriculture has a high carbon footprint, uses huge amounts of water to produce, causes pollution with run off of waste into water, and also heavily effects biodiversity; all major factors for climate change.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Switch to an electric car or take public transport, reduce the number of flights you take, switch to solar panel power, LED light bulbs, and more energy efficient appliances.
Go zero waste
It is estimated that the human population waste approx. 40% of food we produce. Plan out meals more efficiently to reduce your food waste. Buy more second hand or upcycled items, or even upcycle items around your house, before throwing things out or buying mass produced new items. Reduce your plastic use by avoiding plastic wrapped items and replace disposable plastic items such as cotton buds, cotton pads, wipes, cloths and sponges with plastic free, sustainable alternatives.
Help to reduce pesticide and herbicide levels
80% of the worlds crops are fed to farmed animals, so again, switching to a plant based diet would greatly help to reduce the widespread use of pesticides.
Switch to organic where you can
Organic crops are produced without the use of pesticides, fertilizers and other harmful chemicals which effect the environment and wildlife including bees. Look out for organic labelled items in the supermarket where you can, or if you shop for food online, most supermarkets will allow you to search or filter for organic items. There are also quite a lot of small local organic farms that you could shop at. Find boutiques and online shops that sell sustainable organic cleaning products, toiletries and beauty products. And finally buy organic cotton clothing where you can - all of LoveSoul's clothing is made from GOTS certified organic cotton!
Garden without the use of herbicides
Cut out your use of herbicides (weed killer) when garden. You can prevent the growth of weeds by laying a layer of plastic or mulching your plant borders. Then any stray weeds that grow through can be easily pulled or dug out. On larger areas such as drives, paths and verges, instead of using harmful herbicides, switch to natural remedies that will kill unwanted weeds such as, boiling water, salt, vinegar or vodka.
Reduce the kept honey bee population
It is a common misconception that keeping honey bees is helping to save our pollinators, but as explained in our last blog post, kept honey bees actually pass on pests and disease and also drive out our wild bees, which in turn reduces variety of bees and biodiversity.
Therefore, it is best to not concede to the idea of keeping your own honey bees at home. Cutting your consumption of honey would also be a very effective way of helping bees as it would cut the demand for kept honey bees, and in turn would cut the honey bee population effecting our wild bees.
All of these changes might seem a lot at first, but you can start with the easiest ones first and work your way through them over time. Bear in mind that all of these changes we've suggested will not only help wild bee populations, but they would also help with so many other pressing issues going on in the world today. We will be going into more depth with most of the changes that we have mentioned in our upcoming blog posts. So watch this space!
We have some beautiful 'Save the Bees' products at LoveSoul...
All of our products are vegan and eco friendly! We also plant a tree and donate to charity with every item purchased!