Why bees are always “more than honey”

the green walnuts - bees more than honey
Especially when the gardens are full of fruit and vegetables, I think about it all started: with the bees. Saving bees can be so easy, wanna help to make sure bees are “more than honey”?

Albert Einstein apparently should have said “If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only live four more years.”. Sound very threatening and bold, doesn’t it? If he said or even calculated it (how?!) doesn’t really matter because that bees are incredibly important for agriculture is beyond any doubt.

According to FAO, 75% of the world’s food crops rely to some extent on pollinators. Do you want to give up 2/3 of your food or do you want to enjoy coffee, chocolate and apples in the future?

 

You can help with easy changes!

 

the green walnuts - food for bees

 

Why is everyone talking about increased bee mortality?

 

Now, I have to mention the movie „More than honey“.

Highly, highly recommended! Impressive pictures show how the honeybee fights for its survival. To blame for its struggle are increased use of pesticides, monocultures and faster spreading of diseases, such as the varroa mite, due to intensive farming and intercontinental transport of the bee hives.

My first association when I here the word bee isn’t exactly factory farming… However, the intensive industrial use of the honeybee does more harm than good. As usual, honey could be produced eco-friendlier and more sustainable.

 

the green walnuts - bee season

 

 

How can you help to save the bee?

Whether countryside or city, bees are important for pollination everywhere. Not only in meadows and on fields, but also in urban gardens is the bee buzz a welcome noise between blooming flowers.

 

Here, I have a few recommendations for all regions to support honey and wild bees sustainably:

 

Buy organic produce.

By supporting organic agriculture, no harmful pesticides are used and no bees are killed by them. Just as simple.

 

 

Plant plants for the bees.

You don’t need a huge garden to save a little corner with wild plants. Instead of mowing down everything, let the flowers and herbs grow in one part. Such a clipped lawn looks really boring, doesn’t it? 😉

Small lower pots on the windowsill, balcony or terrace will help as well.

Plant species with a lot of nectar or pollen are especially appropriate, even better it they are native plants. Lavender, sage, oregano, rosemary and co. taste good to you and the bees. 😉 Buzz about bees was so kind to put a whole list of suitable bee plants online.

Go for a mixture of plants that bloom at different times, so bees find nectar and pollen throughout the year. The more diverse, the better. Fruit trees, raspberries, blackberries, thyme and whatever you like bring food for you and the bees.

Side note: not only bees are diligent pollinators, but humblebees as well – bees with a fur <3 Even though you cannot eat the honey yourself, bumblebees pollinate more blossoms than bees! They aren’t only beautiful and valuable, but they also only sting when provoked.

 

the green walnuts - bumblebee

 

Do not use pesticides and insecticides.

If you can avoid pesticides and insecticides in your own garden, you reduce the danger for wild and honey bees significantly. Use eco-friendly alternatives to get rid of plant diseases and pests.

 

Set up “bug hotels” or “bee filling stations”.

Bees do not only live in hives, but also solitary. To be exact, there are more than 700 wild bee species (bumblebees <3) roaming Austrian gardens. There exist more than 20,000 species of bees worldwide!

However, without shelter they won’t stay long or become extinct sooner than later.

Nesting places are easier created than you might think. Flower meadows, piles of dead wood or artificial nests are enough. Bug hotels or “bee filling stations” can be bought ready made.

Or you can build your own.

Do not forget the watering places!

 

Buy honey from local producers.

Locally produced honey does not only support the economy in the region, but also prevents far transport of the bee hives, such as across the US.

 

Rent a bee hive.

Whole bee hives can be supported e.g. at Bienenpatenschaft.at für 2 months, BioBienenmann for a season or at rent a bee for a individual duration.

Very important: Before you take home a bee hive, you HAVE TO get a proper introduction or even better a beekeeper training. A bee hive is not any hobby, but comes with a certain degree of responsibility. If you want to take less effort, you can sponsor a bee hive or plant bee-friendly plants.

 

the green walnuts - bee hives

 

Sponsor bees.

Financial support will bring you the certainty of very lively bees, honey as well as insights into and visits to your bee hive. If you want to go a step further, you can offer a suitable location for a bee hive in the city or in your garden without taking actually care of the hive.

 

How do you support bees? And what else could we do?

 

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