Bees. Those truly amazing creatures that do not get nearly as enough attention as they so truly deserve. It can be easy to forget and misplace the importance of bees in our daily lives. When we look around our gardens and admire the colourful flowers, we must remember to thank the bees and the other pollinators for what they do for society.
Today we’re going to lay down the facts for you and show why these yellow and black beauts really are the “beez kneez” (yikes).
Globally bees are the world’s most important pollinator for food crops, with an estimation of one-third of the food we consume on a daily basis all heavily relying on bees to pollinate them.
The honeybee is only one of 98 different species of bee in Ireland. Without these pollinating bees (and other pollinators such as wasps, hoverflies, butterflies and moths), our diet would not have many of the fruits and vegetables we take for granted. As one of the most important pollinators in the world, bees are absolutely crucial for food production, human livelihoods and biodiversity.
All worker bees are, in fact, female (wooo – girl power!!!). This means it is the females who gather the pollen and bring it back to the hive for further developing. It’s also these workers who decide when they need a new queen. They select some eggs and feed them royal jelly. These then develop into queens. All females’ eggs have the potential to become queen, but the workers decide which eggs are selected.
Fun fact: Bees don’t actually want to sting you as they know they will die and will therefore only do so if they feel threatened. In fact, male bees (also known as drones) don’t even have stingers. So next time you see one of our stripey, furry friends – leave them alone and let them beeeee!..
Can you believe that bees communicate by dancing? I know, what a buzz.
When a bee finds a source of nectar they are happy with, they return to the hive to show the fellow bees where the source is by performing a dance known as the ‘waggle dance’. By strutting around in loops and shaking their furry bodies, bees can communicate the direction of flowers and how far away they are exactly. How cute!
With the aim of tackling plastic pollution while promoting a sustainable alternative, beeswax wraps can be used as a substitute for your regular food wraps such as clingfilm, as a multi-purpose balm and even makes some lovely natural candles. Not only this, but beeswax has been used in many ways for centuries and can be seen in cosmetics, furniture polish, medicines and to seal foods and preserve them.
Milbee Studio is just one example of an Irish made company who is determined to do something positive and fun for the environment through their business.
Keep your garden as colourful as possible with an array of plants and flowers.
Flowers such as Wallflower, Berberis, Broom, Rosemary, Lavender, Heathers, Willow, Crocus, Scabies, Thyme and Marigold should be planted as they are more accessible for pollinators to reach the nectar and pollen.
For those who don’t have gardens, a simple window-box or flowering basket can even help provide a source of food for pollinator.