10 things that anyone can do to save the bees
Bees play a central role in the conservation of global ecosystems. However, scientists have been warning for years against the death of bees and the decline in populations. Bees are extremely important: not only do bees produce honey; they also pollinate the majority of our fruit and vegetable plants. We’ll give you 10 tips and advices on how everyone can help the bees.
Insects play an important role in preserving biodiversity. They pollinate about 80 percent of plants and ensure the survival of trees, flowers, grasses and thus the food sources of mankind. All the more worrying is the fact that for years more and more bee populations have been dying worldwide. The 2019 study „Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers“ concludes that the global population of all insects has fallen by 41 percent in recent years. A research team evaluated 73 studies of the situation of insects and identifies the main drivers of worldwide insect shrinkage. According to this, bee mortality is accelerated by various factors that mutually reinforce each other:
- The use of pesticides in agriculture
- Agricultural monocultures severely restrict the habitat and food diversity of bees. This applies to both honey and wild bees.
- Paved surfaces, such as parking lots or new building areas, but also paved front gardens contribute to the fact that habitats break away and nesting possibilities for the bees become scarce.
Far-reaching changes in agriculture and settlement policy are needed to halt bee mortality. But also each individual can make a contribution in his private environment to make landscapes more bee-friendly again. The following 10 tips show how.
1. Set up bee hotels
Insect breeding sites have become rare these days. For this reason, nesting aids for insects can make an important contribution. Some wild bees, which belong to the most important pollinators, lay their eggs in tubes. A bee hotel helps wild bees nest in the wild and can be easily made with wooden blocks, but you can also find the wild bee nesting aids in the DIY store. Construction manuals can be found here.
2. Sowing wildflowers and bringing life to the garden
The food supply for insects is shrinking more and more. Grasses, wild flowers and herbs are no longer a matter of course in densely populated environments. Nevertheless: Insects need diversity! Gardens are best wild and messy. Planting of different native wildflower mixtures can help honey and wild bees to find sufficient nectar and pollen.
3. Herb box for the balcony
Also the planting of herbs helps the bees. The flowers of thyme, mint, basil, oregano and many other herbs are a good source of food for the bees. If you don’t have a garden, you can simply reach for the flower box.
4. Buy organic food
Organic food helps the bees indirectly because it is grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers. By paying attention to organic quality when buying fruit and vegetables, we promote agriculture without insecticide sprays. Smaller organic farms in particular also create a more diverse habitat for insects through crop rotation, fallow land and other structures.
5. Eat organic honey
There are also varieties of honey from mass beekeeping and from organic beekeeping. Organic beekeepers do not use any chemical bee medication and do not use pollen from genetically modifies plants. Organic beekeepers usually only use mixed honey instead of variety honey, such as rapeseed honey. Organic beekeepers attach importance to plant diversity and do not place their bees in a monoculture, such as a rape field.
6. Set up bee drinkers
Bees are thirsty. Especially on hot summer days there is often a lack of water. A bee watering place can help, which is best placed in the garden or balcony. A flat bowl with water as well with stones, moss and sticks as a landing aid and protection from drowning offers remedy for the bees.
7. Keep your hands off pesticides!
Many chemical crop protection products such as herbicides and insecticides are harmful to nature, wildlife and health. They destroy sensitive “beneficial organisms”, accumulate in the food chain and in groundwater and damage soil organisms. Our tip: increasingly use of natural resources. Garlic, onions, rhubarb and nettles are just as effective as broth.
8. Use seeds of organic quality
When planting vegetables, care should be taken to use only organic seeds. Conventional seeds are usually treated with pesticides. This ensures that the seeds rises quickly and is protected against pests. But it is precisely this effect that is responsible for bee mortality because the bees absorb the toxins.
9. Less frequent mowing
Many consider gardens with clean and short-mown lawns to be ideal. But for insects such gardens become practically worthless and offer hardly any food. Those who want to help pollinators should mow the lawn less often. For an insect-friendly garden it is sufficient to mow the garden every three weeks: wild flowers and wild herbs, especially clover and dandelion, than have the chance to sprout and attract a variety of bees.
10. Become a bee sponsor
Many beekeepers rent hives of offer a bee sponsorship. By taking over a sponsorship for a colony of bees one helps to ensure the pollination of useful and wild plants. In addition to a personal sponsorship certificate, one receives honey throughout the year directly from the beekeepers.