5th December, 2023
Have you heard the buzz? World Bee Day is back! Every May, there’s a special day devoted to our beloved bees.
Bees are so important to the environment, but sadly they’re in danger. We believe bees should be treasured, so let’s get together and celebrate World Bee Day in style. Here’s some fun ways to make the most of it.
WHEN IS WORLD BEE DAY?
World Bee Day takes place every year on 20th May, to mark the birthday of beekeeping pioneer Anton Janša. The idea originated in Slovenia, which proposed this date should be recognised annually. In 2017, after three years campaigning, the United Nations (UN) unanimously approved World Bee Day (and we were buzzing).
Every year, this day raises awareness of the importance of bees. And rightly so, because the government says the UK’s biodiversity indicator for pollinators has shown a decline since 1980. What is causing this decline? Factors such as habitat loss, climate change and the use of pesticides on our crops have all played a part. It’s time to help save the bees!
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEES
Sure, bees give us delicious honey, but there’s so much more to these fascinating creatures. Bees are pollinators and have a very important role in keeping us fed. You can thank our busy friends for some of your favourite fruit and veg – from apricots and apples, to strawberries and broccoli.
Some foods rely more heavily on bees to grow. For example, blueberries are 90% dependent on bees to pollinate them, so you can thank these buzzing creatures when you’re eating your blueberry-topped brekky.
Although there are other ways for to pollinate – butterflies, birds and even a strong gust of wind can sometimes do the trick – the humble bumblebee pollinates on a much larger scale. The Woodland Trust say it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion per year to manually pollinate crops. Luckily, our fuzzy friends provide a free service, visiting on average 1,500 flowers a day!
HOW TO CELEBRATE WORLD BEE DAY
So, now we know how important bees are to all of us, what can we do to celebrate their hard work and efforts? Here are five ways you can pay tribute to our buzzy buddies this year.
PLANT FLOWERS FOR BEES
BUILD A HOME FOR BEES
You can entice bees into your garden with a warm welcome if you make a bee house for them. With a cosy nesting space, they can take a break between their pollinating – and may even produce offspring. Here’s a quick guide to help you make your own:
- Dig a piece of turf where you want the house to be.
- Cut a piece of hosepipe, around 8-10 inches long.
- Place the hosepipe in a u-shape, pointing upwards.
- Cover the pipe with turf and bury the middle.
- Leave the ends clear, so bees can use it as a tunnel.
- Fill a plant pot (diameter 22-24cm) with straw.
- Place the pot upside down over one end of the hosepipe.
- Leave the other end clear – the bees should use it as an entrance.
- Place something flat and heavy over the hole in the plant pot to keep the nest dry.
BEE FRIENDLY BUNDLE
Feeling extra creative? You can even make a bee retirement home for older bees in need of some well-earned R&R.
Buying local honey
CREATING A BEE BATH
This might sound like some kind of luxury, but bees love to collect water. They do so for several reasons:
- Diluting honey – bees use water to manage the consistency of honey and thin it out when it’s crystalised.
- To aid with digestion – just like us humans, bees need water to help them digest.
- To keep cool – and they don’t like overheating either. Bees add water to their hive and then use their wins to fan their homes.
- Feed their young – nurse bees need water to feed larvae and create royal jelly, which they use as baby food.
GOING ON A BEE WALK
Celebrate World Bee Day with friends and family. Go on a ramble together and help out the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Between March and October, they ask anyone to spare an hour every month to walk for roughly a mile and record bee sightings to help them monitor any population changes.
It’s not all work, work, work, though – getting out and about is good for the body and the mind. Get everyone involved in trying to spot the different types of bees you see buzzing around. Need some help? Take a look at our bee identification guide.
JOIN THE SWARM SPREAD THE WORD
When it comes to World Bee Day, you’ve no excuse for winging it now. Take what you’ve learnt and spread the word. Let’s show our appreciation for those cute little insects that play such an important part in the planet’s ecosystem. Happy World Bee Day!