World Bee Day on 20 May 2023 is a chance to recognise the crucial role that bees play in our environment.
According to the UN, bees are responsible for pollinating 71 of the top 100 food crops that feed 90% of the world ensuring the production of fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are critical to our food supply. However, bees and pollinators more broadly are facing numerous threats, including habitat loss, disease, pesticide use, and climate change.
Not everyone is able to (or fortunate enough) to keep bees, so we've put together some simple ways you can make a difference at home.
1. Plant nectar-bearing flowers
It takes a staggering one million flowers to make a single jar of honey. So the more food you can provide the bees the better. And you don't need a garden to help. Grow some flowers in containers, plant a flowering tree or replace part of your lawn with clover to give bees a valuable source of food. Bees are most active in spring until late autumn, so it helps to choose plants that bloom at different times of the year.
2. Buy Australian made honey and support local beekeepers
Not only will you be supporting local farmers, you will be ensuring you are getting the very best honey in the world. Australia is one of the few remaining countries where chemical treatments aren't used in the hive making our honey the safest and purest in the world. Try to buy direct from a beekeeper or local farmer's market to ensure the honey's origin. If you have to buy from a supermarket or store, always read the label to ensure the honey is raw (unpasteurised) and made with 100% Australian honey.
3. Reduce or eliminate the use of chemical based pesticides and herbicides
Please, please, please try to avoid using pesticides and chemical fertilisers which can harm bees and other pollinators. If sprayed on food sources, the bees will ingest the chemicals and take it back to the hive poisoning the whole colony. Instead, try using natural or organic pest control methods and fertilisers to keep your plants healthy and bee-friendly.
4. Set up a pollinator nesting house or ‘bee hotel”
Not all bees are social creatures that live in hives. In fact, the majority of bees are solitary and nest in the ground or in crevices alone. Provide some nesting places like bee hotels or leave a small patch of bare soil in your yard for the bees to nest and you will start to notice more native bees and pollinators living in your garden.
5. Weeds feed the bees
If all of that sounds too hard, then you can help the bees by doing...... nothing! That's right, let your garden grow unruly by leaving the weeds for the bees. Many weeds will flower and provide nectar sources for bees and pollinators at different times throughout the year. It's a win win situation for you and the bees.
To find out more about World Bee Day, head to the official website where you can find more ways to help along with events taking place near you.