Why Are Bees Important?
Bees are a keystone species; without them, ecosystems would collapse, and much of life would become extinct.
Bees are vital for pollinating wild plants, which supports biodiversity for healthy ecosystems.
They produce some very high-quality food like honey, royal jelly and pollen, and ingredients for beeswax and propolis products.
Honeybees also pollinate many of our food crops, so if bees disappeared, we would no longer enjoy such availability and variety of fresh produce. That would lead to poor nutrition and even starvation among humans.
Honey Bee Species Are Essential For Our Food Crops
Small but mighty, honey bees pollinate food crops and are crucial. There is a UN agency, IPBES, which stands for Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – quite a mouthful, we know. They state that 35% of our food depends on bees and other pollinators.
If we lost bees, humans could literally starve! At the very least, our diets would be restricted, and our nutrition and development would suffer. So spare a thought for the humble bumble next time you're tucking into your salad.
And it's not just fruit 'n' veg production that the fuzzy-buzzies support. Bees pollinate native wildflowers that other insects and animals depend on. They are vital to the health of their ecosystem; if they are lost, birds, mammals and other insect species die out too.
Why Are Bees Dying?
Bees, and other pollinators, are endangered species because they face several threats:
Diseases and predators: including the varroa parasite, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and invasive non-native plant species
Pesticides and intensive farming methods: insecticides are highly toxic to bees, while modern agricultural practices degrade and pollute their environment
Loss of habitat: when wildflower meadows are razed, bees have nowhere to nest or find food
Climate change: this is speeding up habitat destruction and raising temperatures to levels that bees can't handle
Protect Bees Before It's Too Late
Because of these threats, beekeepers are facing increasing losses year after year. One German study showed that in the past 30 years, Europe has lost over 75% of its flying insects, including the European Honey Bee and other pollinators.
According to a 2014 study by Reading University, mainland Europe has a deficit of 13.4 million hives - that's a lot of missing pollinators.
“How doth the little busy bee, Improve each shining hour, And gather honey all the day, From every opening flower!”
The Importance Of Bees In France
When it comes to honey production, like most of the world, France is struggling. The country can no longer produce all the honey its people consume; demand has outstripped supply.
France is now forced to import honey from around the world, but some are not authentic or ethically produced. In 2015, the EU revealed that out of 1200 imported honey, over 30% were inauthentic and impure; some even contained added sugar!
How Can You Help Bees And Ensure Human Survival?
Here are three simple things you can do right now to help our little friends and, ultimately, ourselves.
1. Make Your Garden Bee-Friendly
You can't adopt wild bee species, that wouldn't be right, but you can make their existence more sustainable. Bees need access to nectar from March to October, so you could try planting native bee-friendly flowers.
We all know that variety is the spice of life, so mix it up with assorted bee-friendly flowering plants like wildflowers, crocus, primrose or even borage.
Building a bee hotel, so bumbles have somewhere to nest, is also good. If you place it near your flowering plants, they won't be stuck in traffic on their way to do their bee pollination work!
2. Show The Bees A Little Sugar, Baby!
Ever noticed a tired solitary bee? Maybe it looks dead on the floor? Not surprising when you consider they need to fly over 80 000 km to make half a kilo of honey.
If a bee needs help, mix a teaspoon of water with 2 teaspoons of white granulated sugar, leave it next to the bee, and go about your business.
3. Buy Ethical Honey
The easiest - but arguably most important - thing you can do is to buy ethical honey.
We stock Bleu Blanc Ruche honey because not only is it deliciously indulgent, but it's also ethically produced. Bleu Blanc Ruche actively works to repopulate France with bees; every jar you buy contributes to their goal.
Bleu Blanc Ruche partners with beekeepers who share their eco-minded values.
The brand purchases the honey at a higher-than-typical price.
That extra money is then invested into increasing their hive numbers.
Both parties sign a contract to ensure they remain committed to the cause.
The brand gives beekeepers long-term stability and wild bees a chance to repopulate!
Besides treating yourself to some luxurious, ethical, and did-we-mention-delicious Bleu Blanc Ruche honey, you can also help bees in another way. Buy only organic from those whose produce hasn't been sprayed with pesticides.
DID YOU KNOW? Only the Queen Bee is allowed to eat the royal jelly, giving her a life expectancy of around 50 times that of her subjects.
Would saving bees give you a buzz? Would you consider buying ethical honey to give bees a chance and save humans from certain doom? Our future is in your sticky fingers!
The next time someone screams when a bee approaches, tell them why bees are important. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Oh, and don't forget to share using these lovely ethical buttons: