By Ant Langston |
Our honeybees are in crisis and there are serious effects already in motion due to the loss of these precious and very useful creatures. Without honeybees our flora, fauna and our food sources are going to disappear. There are currently 250 species of bee in the UK and only 25 of them are British natives.
- Since the 50s more than half of our native bee population has disappeared
- 3 species are extinct
- 5 are under serious threat of extinction and 2 are very close to that threat
Top 3 tips for helping bees
- Stop using insecticides
- Plant bee friendly plants
- Become a beekeeper
What to use instead of insecticides
You can use many natural methods for the control of pesky insects which threaten your plants and crops. There are a number of ways to keep slugs down naturally for instance such as placing salt or eggshells around precious young plants…no self respecting slug will crawl over eggshells!
You can also make up a mixture of garlic, chilli and water which you can then spray over plants to deter greenfly and similar.
Mix 1 tablespoon of chilli powder and 5 cloves of crushed garlic in two pints of water. Spray this mixture liberally over any at-risk plants.
Which plants do bees like?
There are quite literally thousands of plants which promote the health and wellbeing of bees but some of the more well known or easily grown are listed below.
- Birds Foot
All of the above are either beautiful, useful or both; they are simple to grow and as you see the bee population in your garden increasing you can rest assured that you are doing your bit towards safeguarding these special creatures.
How to become a beekeeper!
First things first…join the British Beekeepers Association. This well known body can provide you with all the support that you will need in the early days as well as putting you in touch with your local groups. Local beekeeping associations will also help you to register on a beekeeping course; these are usually part time and managed to fit in around the working day. The equipment needed to set up a hive or two is not extensive and you may be able to purchase some of it second hand.
Beekeeping is a wonderful hobby and many people take it up in order to provide their family with a good supply of honey in addition to helping the bee population. Seek advice from your local association in the first instance and then take it from there!
Bees are such an important and precious part of our eco system that it is imperative that we attend to the issues surrounding them immediately and without delay. For some of us that may simply mean ceasing to use pesticides in the garden while others might decide to grow a wild meadow where in place of a lawn…still others might choose to become a beekeeper. Whatever you do… do something