Caring for the bees!
We humans must protect our planet, which we share with all animals. To do this, we need to be mindful of how we treat the environment and all living creatures.
One of the smallest, but most important, animal species is the bee.
Many people are not aware of the importance of bees for humans. It is only with the help of insects that our fragile ecosystems can persist.
In search of food, the bee transports pollen from flower to flower and thus ensures the fertilisation of plants, without which no (or significantly fewer fruits) would grow. A huge 70% of the world’s most important crops depend on pollination by insects and, in Europe, this figure is as high as 84%!
Did you know: Bees are also an important source of food for a wide range of animal species such as birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles?
Like all insects, bees depend on a diversity of plants. Large monocultures of agriculture do nothing for many insects, including wild bees.
Natural landscapes are going missing as more and more land is needed for industry, traffic and housing.
Gardens are often too manicured and weedless, so they don’t provide much food either. It has now become fashionable to lay out front gardens as stone deserts. Some cities in Germany have now recognised the risk of this, with gravel gardens becoing forbidden due to their hostility to insects.
Another threat to bees are the pesticides used in agriculture.
These pesticides are harmful to bees and can cause them to lose their sense of direction and to develop a weakened immune system that can lead to them dying as a result.
Other factors such as land sealing such as concreting and light pollution are also responsible for the fact that there are fewer and fewer insects. The decline of wild bees is particularly dramatic worldwide, with many species already on the endangered list.
To counteract this, bees must be offered areas where they can retreat and have a chance to survive. Hedgerows, for example, provide an important habitat for wild bees.
It’s relatively easy for you to also help bees!
If you have a garden, balcony or patio, you can plant bee-friendly flowers or herbs.
Sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary and lavender are particularly attractive to bees, as are fruit trees.
This year, I planted more herbs than usual in my garden – some of the herbs I harvest and the rest I let continue to grow and bloom.
The bees are very grateful for this and, as a result, I have a lot of different species of bees in the garden. I also put shallow bowls with water, because the summers are often very dry and the bees need water. In the bowls, I put small stones and pieces of wood so that the bees can drink without danger of drowning. It is best to place the trays in a shady, wind-protected place near suitable food sources.
It costs almost nothing to help the bees – everyone can do something for them. They are the basis of existence for humans.
Albert Einstein once said: “Once the bee disappears from the earth, man has only four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more people.” (A.E., 1949).
Be a friend to bees on World Animal Day, October 4 – and start planning for World Bee Day on May 20, 2023!
Guest blog by Eva Stürmer
Photos by Eva Stürmer