The importance of bees

We don’t want to be dramatic, but it has been acknowledged many times that the extinction of bees would mean the end of humanity. It’s no wonder, when they pollinate 70 of around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. Honey bees are responsible for $30 billion a year in crops but due to the excessive use of pesticides in these crops, these tiny but crucial pollinators are disappearing at a pretty terrifying rate. But we know all this, don’t we? Morgan Freeman definitely knows this and has recently turned his 124-acre ranch in to a bee sanctuary in an attempt to help save the honeybee. What a legend. Of course we don’t all have 124-acre ranches, but there are other things we can be doing to help keep the bees buzzing.

Hey, why not buy a Petalon bouquet next time you need to send some flowers? Not to blow our own trumpet, but we donate 5% of our flower delivery profits to Bee Collective, who provide honey harvesting services to London’s beekeepers and opportunities for everyone to get involved through its weekly volunteering sessions. It uses our donations and the profits from honey sales to help improve London’s landscape for bees and people.

If you’re lucky enough to have a little outdoor space, you can plant flowers and herbs that bees are especially fond of, like mint, lavender and poppies. Bees also love purple, as it’s easy for them to see, so if you plant their favourite colour this is giving them a helping hand too. If you can plant things native to your local area as well as a mix of seasonal flowers that will bloom throughout the year, that’s even better.

Avoid using chemical sprays on your garden with nasty pesticides and herbicides - even ones labelled as ‘organic’ can still be harmful. Click here to see a list of natural and homemade insecticides. There’s also never been a better excuse to pop to your local farmers market if you have one - supporting local farmers and sustainable growing whenever possible will help the bees. If you don’t have access to one, buying organic from your supermarket when you can goes a long way.

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If you’re interested in learning more about what you can plant to attract the bees or perhaps you’re even considering beekeeping, Hackney City Farm in E2 offer various beekeeping courses of different lengths, with no experience required. The Bees and Herbs day course will talk about how bees need herbs and how they even use herbs to manage their own health (cute). You’ll look at how to turn beeswax, honey and herbs in to natural cosmetics and you’ll get to take home everything you make - all materials are provided. The short course Introduction To Beekeeping will show you how bees make honey, what you would need if you were interested in producing honey and you’ll discuss the practicalities of setting up a hive, whereas Beekeeping for Beginners will show you the basics of setting up your own hive, including the biology and behaviour of bees. They also offer a whole day course called Your First Hive for those seriously considering giving it a go, giving an in-depth look at beekeeping season and how to set up a colony that will thrive. They have courses coming up in September and October, which you can book here. They also just sound like an interesting and fun day out if you’re looking to do something a bit different and also learn something along the way.

Florence Hill