Bees are some of the most important and overlooked animals we have. Through pollination of crops alone, they add approximately £600 million per year to the value of UK crops through increased yield and quality. In the UK, bees are the largest contributor to pollination; recent studies suggest that about one-third of pollination is delivered by honeybees. Bees contribute to our quality of living, signal the health of local ecosystems, are key to the preservation of biodiversity. All of that and they still manage to be the cutest bugs about!
In celebration of World Bee Day this May 20th, we’ve put together an infographic detailing their importance, the problems they face and a quick identification guide to the 8 most popular species of British Bumblebee. Teaching others to identify bees can help protect them; psychological studies have shown that the more people know about biodiversity, the more they will prioritise protecting it. If you want to know more about World Bee Day and watching out for our bumbliest buds, take a look at the UN World Bee Day resources here.
Caring for bees isn’t just and idealistic goal: it’s a necessity. Preserving bee populations is an integral part of the United Nations fight against world hunger. Ensuring biodiversity is also essential to building the resilient agriculture and ecosystems we will need to adapt to climate change. Without a healthy and thriving bee population in Britain, we would struggle to maintain food security, spending millions (or perhaps even billions) on manual pollination. If that isn’t enough to convince you- a world without bees would mean no coffee or chocolate either! Read through our infographic, share those bees facts with everyone you know and let’s gather together to try #savethebees
Bees are increasingly under threat from human activities. Learning about the ways we impact our shared environment is crucial if we wish to protect and preserve the essential role of pollinators like bees.
Why Protect Bees?
Bees, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are all pollinators. Pollinators allow many plants, including food crops, to reproduce. They also:
- – Are key to conserving biodiversity
- – Contributing directly to food security
- – Warn us about emerging environmental risks
- – Signal the health of local ecosystems
Managed Pollination could increase global yield by 25%.
Threats to Bee Health
No angle factor to be responsible for all the observed changes in pollinators and pollination in the UK and worldwide. The importance of different factors varies with the environmental setting.
Threats to Bee Health
- – Intensification of Land-Use
- – Pests & Diseases
- – Climate Change
- – Use of Pesticides
- – Competition from Invasive Species
- – Increased Malnutrition
- – Pest & Disease Outbreaks
- – Habitat Loss
- – Non-Communicable Diseases
A Closer Look at Pesticides
Pesticides cause bees a whole host of problems, including:
- – Inability to navigate and fly back to the hive, nest, or colony.
- – Reduction of foraging and food collection
- – Impairment of communication with nestmates – a disaster for social insects
- – Impaired Memory and Ability to Learn
- – Chronic Exposure compromises the immune system & increases susceptibility to diseases and pathogens.
Decline in Real Time
Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate. These animals need undisturbed places to nest, and flowers to feed on when the crops are not flowering, Without these they cannot thrive.
Within the last 50 years, 50% fewers bees, butterflies and moths have been observed.
One in ten species of wild bees are facing extinction in Europe. British bees declined by 46% in the past decade. Since the 1930’s the UK has lost 97% of our wildflower meadows.
52% decline in solitary bees.
3 UK bumblebee species are now extinct & 6 more are endangered.
What Would Happen in a World Without Bees?
75% of all crop species require pollination by animals. Manual pollination would be unsustainably expensive.
Pollinators add roughly £600 million each year to the value of UK crops. In the USA, this number rises to a whopping $74.6 billion.
Pollinators play an essential role in helping to feed a rising world population in a sustainable way and help maintain biodiversity and a vibrant ecosystem.
How Can You Help Bees?
Teaching others to identify bees can help to protect them; psychological studies have shown that the more people know about biodiversity, the more they prioritise protecting it.
There are over 250 species of bees in the UK, but here’s a quick guide to spotting the 8 most commonly seen bumblebees.
1. Common Carder Bee
An all ginger bee. There are 3 all ginger bee species and this is by far the most commonly seen.
2. Red-Tailed Bee
All black with bright red tail (except males who have yellow facial hair & thorax banding).
3. Early Bees
A small bee with a ginger tail and yellow banded body. A spring time bee.
4. Tree Bees
Ginger-brown thorax, black abdomen and white tail, Only arrived in the UK in 2001.
5. Garden Bees
Has yellow-black-yellow thorax, a yellow band at the base of the abdomen, and a pure white tail. Loves foxglove.
6. Health Bees
Small round face. Has yellow black yellow thorax with the final yellow band merging with the yellow band of the abdomen.
7. Buff-Tailed Bees
“Buff” sand coloured tail, with deep golden yellow and black bands across the rest of their body.
8. White-Tailed Bees
Yellow black thorax and yellow black abdomen with a bright whitetail.