The first few days of Spring are a biological trigger for female bees to wake up from hibernation and begin to build future colonies. Who runs the world? Girls! Seriously though, these female bees carry with them all the genetic material vital for the next generation of bees.
As the colony begins to grow, so does the number of young bees, which means more worker bees. Worker bees are female but are not capable of reproducing and do all the work in the hive. During the early weeks of spring, they begin collecting the pollen, visiting up to 2000 flowers a day!
In Australia, we have our very own native bee family, along with other feral bees, like the honeybee for instance. The good news about native bees? Native bees are very reluctant to sting, in fact, many species don’t sting at all! So, remember to bee nice to our bees.
A world without them?
Bees are the only insect intricately tied to our food supply with one-third of our diet derived from plants that require pollination. Without bees, our supermarkets would have about half the amount of fruit and vegetable we see on the shelves.
To put this into context these are just a few of the crops pollinated by bees we would have to say goodbye to:
almonds, apples, apricots, avocados, blueberries, cantaloupes, cashews, coffee, cranberries, cucumbers, eggplants, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, okra, peaches, pears, peppers. No coffee and blueberry pancakes, no way!
So, really how close are we to losing our bees? Unfortunately, the stats are quite alarming. Since 2013, bee populations in some parts of the world have fallen by a third.
Support bees this Spring:
Bee-friendly backyards: Grow a bee-friendly garden, you can attract bees to your backyard and improve their quality of life by planting a variety of plants like sage, thyme, lavender and sunflowers. Lavender and sage are also great if you want to deter mosquitoes, a win win.
Drinking areas: Perhaps not so well known but bees require lots of water, especially those that are visiting thousands of flowers a day. A simple way to give bees water is to fill a birdbath with stones. If you don't have a birdbath, any type of bowl will do, but just make sure you add landing areas so the bees don't drown!
Go chemical-free: Pesticides and poisons are huge culprits to why bees are endangered in the first place. Try choosing chemical-free when buying products for your garden.
Build a bee hotel: About 90% of bees are actually solitary. Even though they live alone, the female bee will typically build her own nest in close proximity to other females of the same species. Building a bee hotel can be made simply out of boxes or containers that are filled with sticks, pinecones, bamboo shoots.
Even though small, bees are instrumental to the health of our environment, it’s hard to imagine a world without them.
No matter how much technology there is in the world, we will always need mother nature systems to survive. So, let’s fight for the little guys!
“If bees were to disappear from the globe, humankind would only have four years left to live.”
----- Albert Einstein