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Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
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Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
6:00 PM 19th May 2021
nature

Bee Engaged: Build Back Better For Bees

The UN approved the 20 May as being World Bee Day and the First World Bee Day was celebrated on Sunday, 20 May 2018. The theme this year in 2021 is “Bee engaged: Build Back Better for Bees”.

Why 20 May?

Anton Janša in Slovenia, whose birthday was 20 May, pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in the 18th century.

The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem.

This year in 2021 it is the fourth World Bee Day and because many countries are still dealing with the covid19 pandemic virtual events will be taking place.

What can be done?

Now is the time for us all to relate to nature and think what action we can take to support the bees who are tiny hard workers. Our ecosystems rely on pollination with almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depending on animal pollination. It is therefore crucial to monitor the decline of bees and other pollinators such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds so as to halt the loss of biodiversity.

Bees and other pollinating insects are, in fact, improving the food production of 2 billion small farmers worldwide, helping to ensure food security for the world's population.

Interesting facts about bees:

There are 20,000 species of bees
Bees have 5 eyes and 6 legs
Bees actually have 4 wings
Bees see all colours except red
Honey bees harvest nectar and pollen from flowering plants
Bees do a 'waggle dance' when they find the perfect nectar
Male bees in the hive are called drones and they do not have a stinger
Worker bees are females who do all the different tasks needed to operate and maintain the hive
Honey bees live in large groups called colonies
An average beehive can hold around 50,000 bees
If a queen bee dies in a hive the workers create a new queen by selecting a young larva and feeding it special food called ‘royal jelly’


Help bees out:

Help out the bees by planting a range of bee friendly plants in your gardens like wildflowers, primroses, marigolds, daisies, heather, red clover and buddleia, so bees can have access to nectar from March to October.

Planting diverse plants which flower at different times of the year will make a huge difference to our pollinators, or leave sections of the garden wild or let grass grow long so that bees hava a place to shelter.

Avoid pesticides, fungicides or herbicides in your garden because they can kill pollinators and poison hives. Try to find natural solutions to pests for the plants in your garden.

Did you know?

If you find a bumblebee which appears to be struggling, it may be that it is just resting, particularly if the bee is a queen in early spring. If you think the bee is struggling the best thing to do is gently put the bee onto a bee-friendly flower.

If there are no bee-friendly flowers around, mix 50/50 white sugar and water to give the bumblebee a one-off energy boost, providing the carbohydrates it needs to fly. Simply offer a drop or two of sugar water up to the front end of the bee on a teaspoon or an upturned drinks cap in a sheltered place and allow the bee time to recuperate.

(It is not advisable to use brown sugar as it is harder for bees to digest and don’t give bumblebees honey as this can contain pathogens.)