World Bee Day is coming up on 20th May 2021 so we decided to look a bit deeper into bees and why they are so important, as well as what we can do to protect them.
The day was originally proclaimed to be official by the UN in 2017 after the Slovenia Bee-Keepers’ Association had campaigned for it to be recognised for three years. All UN states supported the initiative, and it is co-sponsored by 115 countries including USA, Canada, China, Russia, Argentina, India and Australia. So it has really become a globally-recognised event.
In the words of the author of the World Bee Day initiative and president of the Slovenia Bee Keepers’ Association, Boštjan Noč:“I believe that we all agree that every human being on this planet deserves food every day. We have to produce more food every day, and every day more food is dependent on pollinators – with honey bees in the lead. Talking about reducing global hunger without ensuring the conditions for the survival of bees and other pollinators would simply be like throwing sand in people’s eyes!”
Living in Spain and near the countryside, I have been lucky enough to meet local honey producer Matt Trigell. He produces 100% natural local honey in the Serrania de Ronda area in Andalucia. Having learned everything there is to know from an elderly local Spanish gentleman, Matt now distributes his pure and natural honey to the Costa del Sol area and beyond. He has even developed and created the world’s first honey “champagne” called Melipolini. I can say from personal experience that it’s a beautiful product. Light, sparkling and perfect for those summer evening parties (when we’re allowed!).
I spoke to Matt recently and asked him, in preparation for World Bee Day, to answer these two main questions for us: Why are bees so important? And, what can we do to help them?
Here are his answers:
Why are bees so important?
“As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem. They support the growth of trees, flowers, and other plants, which serve as food and shelter for creatures large and small. Bees
contribute to complex, interconnected ecosystems that allow a diverse number of different species to co-exist. Globally there are more honey bees than other types of bee and pollinating insects, so it is the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees.
A recent study suggests that as many as 40% of the world’s insect species are in decline. Insects are facing extinction rates that are eight times higher than vertebrates. In Germany, scientists have
recorded losses of up to 75% of the total mass of insects in protected areas. Scientists believe the top causes of declines in insect diversity and abundance are, invasive species, pesticides and insecticides (which contain chemicals that can kill pollinators) and herbicides (that are actually used five times as much in farming as insecticides). These weed killers target a huge variety of the wild plants that bees need to forage.”
What can we do to help the bees?
“Every little helps. Planting bee-friendly flowers through the year which flower in different seasons in gardens or on balconies. Leaving a bowl of water full of pebbles out next to the flowers (especially in the summer). For people with open land, leave an untouched strip to grow wild flowers and maybe even consider letting a beekeeper keep some hives on the land in return for some honey.
Ideally each town’s council should put aside some rural land just outside the town for a bee society. This would massively help pollinate local crops, fruit and flowers and would also keep the bee
population at a healthy level.”
We did a little further research and found that bees love colourful flowers as well as flowers and plants that are rich in pollen. There are many lists with recommendations for flowers and plants that attract bees, so if you have room on your terrace or in your garden, consider planting some of the following:
Catmint (menta de gato)
Pumpkins and courgettes
Don’t forget that all orders on Eco Passion now come with a seed card so you can plant a few flowers on your terrace or garden to help the bees.
What will you be doing to raise awareness of the importance of bees on World Bee Day? Share your actions on socials and tag us @ecopassionspain or #ecopassionlife and we will say hola!