The Life of Bees
Bee’s are a hot topic this year with the decline in numbers so it’s important more than ever to make sure we are giving them a helping hand in our gardens. When it comes to bee-friendly plants, your choices are not limited but we are spoilt for choice. Firstly, set aside a space in your garden dedicated to plants for bees, if you notice one plant in particular is popular then make note to add in more! Fragrant plants such as Lavender and Rosemary are very popular with bee’s, they also look very attractive in bloom! Flowering species such as dog rose, Ceanothus, Bird Cherry and Crab Apple.
But why are our Bee’s suffering?
You might associate honeybees and bumblebees with their cute, fuzzy shape and seemingly aimless interest in flowers. But beneath the yellow-and-black (mostly) stripes lies an incredible mind. A new study pooled evidence from 23 studies of honeybees and bumblebees: its conclusions, which build on years of bee research, point to the fact that levels of pesticides currently considered safe to use may still have a big effect on bee colony survival.
Although they might look simple, “bees have a very difficult job,” says study author Harry Siviter, a graduate student at Royal Holloway University of London. To efficiently find and collect food to bring back to the hive, worker bees have to quickly learn to recognize (and then memorize) the most effective foraging routes, he says. To top it off, the routes change with the seasons and with other factors. Honey bees even remember which flowers they’ve visited recently, so they don’t waste time going there again.
All of this takes a good memory and an ability to learn—things that many lab studies have observed in honey bees using the “proboscis extension assay.” When a bee comes near the scent of sugary, delicious nectar, it starts to stick its tongue out. In experiments, researchers exposed bees to pesticides and then watched what they did when prompted to forage, looking to see when—and whether—they stuck their tongues out. Siviter and his colleagues took the data of 23 of these studies and performed a large-scale analysis of the results.
They found that doses of pesticides that are the equivalent of what a bee might encounter in a field “had significant negative effects on learning and memory.” That was true both when bees were suddenly exposed to a lot of pesticide, and when they got a little bit over a long time. It was also true regardless of whether the bees were exposed to neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides that has been around since the 1990s and is being increasingly regulated today, or other pesticides.
Current pesticide regulations are geared toward making sure they aren’t used at levels that kill bees. But these currently legal amounts apparently make the worker bees dumber, which could have effects for species survival. “Regulation and policy should move toward addressing the sub-lethal effects of pesticides,” Siviter says.
taken from popsci.com
Statistics show that honey bee numbers are dropping significantly in the UK. This is due to a number of factors, such as; diseases, parasites, pesticides and habitat loss. Bees play a big part in our eco system and they’re currently needing desperate attention.
A leading digital marketing agency www.bronco.co.uk have created a new website over to highlight the importance of bees and what they provide the environment. The website www.thelifeofbees.co.uk is a friendly, educational and remarkable walk-through of the life of bees.
Over the past year Bronco have adopted a hive with Bees for Business, highlighted the importance of bees across their social media, sharing organic bee friendly flower seeds with their clients, colleagues and people in the industry and local area, to plant them in their gardens and give something back to the bees. Additionally, creating the Life of Bees website to help spread the message.
You might be asking why they are fighting so hard for these insects, here are just a few of the reasons:
We have lost 97% of flower rich meadows since the 1930s.
In the UK, we have already lost around 13 species.
35 UK bee species are in danger of extinction.
In the early 1900s there were around 1 million beehives in the UK; by 2015 we were down to just 270,000.
Across Europe, nearly 1 in 10 wild bee species face extinction.
Speaking about the company CRS and saving the bees, Director of Client Services Becky Naylor said:
“As a company we have always worked hard to help and support the local community and be part of interesting projects. When the idea and opportunity arose to adopt a beehive, there was no question in my mind as to whether we should do it, and when I sought the view of the staff, they were all 100% behind the scheme and excited about it. Every little thing helps and we are hoping by sharing the message we and the Bees for Business are doing, we can increase awareness and help people make changes which can reverse the decline of our pollinators.”
“The beehive has a great parallel with business too that we can resonate with. Not only do the bees work extremely hard to produce the amazing crop of honey (each bee produces a twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime) but it is how they work that is very powerful. Along with the parallels to business we are also learning a great deal about a species that many of us take for granted, and which is so important to our food production worldwide. “