Why are bees so important?

Why are bees so important?

Today is World Bee Day, a day designated by the UN “to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development”. 

We love bees here at Unthank, and are incredibly passionate about saving them from the threats they currently face. In keeping them at the beautiful fields of Unthank and the surrounding fields of Holmesfield, our honey is not only sweet, but also local, sustainable and natural.

This is an important factor to #SavingTheBees, that many people aren’t aware of. So, in this blog, we aim to tell you all about why bees are in danger, why they are so important, and what you can do to help.

Why bees are important:

  1. Bees are an important source of economical income

Local, rural communities (like our farm here at Unthank!) often rely on beekeeping as their livelihood. A steady source of income, beekeeping is a great source of security, as well as being a fantastic source of local, sustainable produce for the surrounding areas to purchase from.

  1. Bees produce incredible food

Bees produce not only honey, but also beeswax, royal jellybee bread and pollen; all of which have fantastic health benefits for both humans and the wider ecosystem of plants and animals. 

  1. Bees provide food security

A third of the world’s food production depends on bees! This is because bees pollinate our fruits and vegetables; like broccoli, squash, apples and almonds. This pollination is not just important for the food we eat directly, but “vital for the foraging crops, such as field beans and clover, used to feed the livestock we depend on for meat”.

Essentially, our ecosystem would collapse without bees. 

It’s reported that without bees’ natural pollination, it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to manually pollinate their crops. Without these crops, we would also then struggle to produce our meat, dairy and egg products, as bees pollinate the animal feed for this, too.

But bees are in danger…

So, we’ve learnt about why bees are so important, now to learn about why they need our help. 

It can be easy to forget or misunderstand quite how much bees do for our world’s livelihood. Over recent years, studies have shown that bees are becoming increasingly under threat, with population numbers falling lower and lower each year. In fact, it’s reported that “a third of British wild bees and hoverflies are in decline”. If this continues, some bee species in Britain will be lost forever. 

The reasons for the bee population decline range from habitat loss, climate change, parasites and disease, and invasive species. 

So, how can you help save the bees?

Here are some ways you can help alleviate the bee crisis:

  • Stop using pesticides!

Organic and regenerative agriculture, like our farm here at Unthank, are great promoters of not using pesticides. Not only does this practice create better quality and more nutritious meat and dairy produce, but it is also bee-friendly. 

Purchasing local, organic produce helps to encourage more UK farmers to adopt a more sustainable farming approach.

  • Provide shelter for local bees

Check out this helpful blog on how to build a ‘bee hotel’ for your garden! Alternatively, there are many bee shelters you can buy online.

Once you have your bee shelter up in a sunny spot of your garden, just remember to keep it clean to prevent pests and mould building up. This can be done in October before hanging back up in late March or early April.

  • Grow bee-friendly flowers and plants

Bluebells, Forget-me-nots, Dahlias, Lavender are just some of the ideal flowers and plants that do bees good. Check out this blog for a full list, per season!

  • Buy your honey locally

Much like most local produce, local honey is a great way to be both environmentally-friendly and organic.