This Monday is World Bee Day - an international initiative to raise awareness of the importance of bees and to keep you informed of events around the world. Our resident Bee expert Paula Carnell tells us more...
In recent years, bees have become increasingly recognised as an essential factor for human survival. Not only because of their pollination services for at least one-third of the food we eat, but also as an indicator of larger threats to humans everywhere. By celebrating World bee Day, we have the opportunity to educate those who may be less aware of how our actions impact the lives of bees, and therefore ourselves.
History of World Bee Day
Celebrating World Bee Day was the initiative of Bostjan Noč, president of the Slovenian Beekeepers association. He was inspired by the 18th-century Austrian Beekeeping teacher Anton Janša. Working in Vienna, Janša had brought 16 typical wooden Carniola-style beehives from his home in Breznica, Upper Carniola. Beekeepers in his region were the first to understand that queen bees mated in the air. He brought his knowledge to Vienna and shared it, becoming the first to start teaching beekeeping.
Three hundred years later, Bostjan Noč is passionate about educating the world about the significance of bees and other pollinators, reminding us that we only have borrowed time on this planet.
As May is the month of active development for bees in the Northern hemisphere, and the harvest time of bee products in the southern hemisphere, May 20th seemed like the most appropriate day for us all to celebrate world bee day.
The day was declared official by the United Nations in 2017, although Slovenians have been celebrating their own Bee Day on May 20th since 2003.
What you can do on World Bee Day
Firstly, you can visit the website. Here you can see any events or get help on starting your own event. The site also has useful and informative articles about why bees are so important.
This year the day falls on a Monday, so if you’re at work, perhaps you could arrange a ‘bee friendly’ lunch. What exactly does ‘bee friendly’ mean? We know that bees are affected by some of our agricultural practices, so to ensure that you’re eating a genuinely bee friendly meal. Organic and GM free food would be a start.
You could look at aspects of your home and work life, and see just how bee friendly you are.
- Do you have plants around you that feed the bees?
- Do you or your neighbours spray ‘weeds’ like dandelions, which are an excellent food source for bees?
- Does your local council cut back hedges and verges before or during the blossoming of blackthorn, cherry, hawthorn and brambles?
- Do you have some bare land on which you could sow bee-friendly plants?
- Organise a quiz to see how much of your weekly shop is dependent on pollinators.
- Think about what your life would look like without bees.
Sometimes it’s easy to push worrying facts to the back of our minds and carry on with our daily lives. Saving bees doesn’t have to be too painful. After all, by helping them, we are helping ourselves. What if the insecticides used on food and agriculture WAS harming your health or your children's? Would that make you think twice about what you ate?
Small changes to your lifestyle can have a considerable impact on the world around us. Maybe think about living just one day as bee friendly as you can, and see how you feel. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all live a bee-friendly life every day of the year? Think of the impact that would have on the world as a whole!