Whether you love the sound of the honey bees pollinating the first blooms of Spring, or associate them with trying to get a piece of your sticky ice lolly on a warm Summer’s day, there’s no doubt that they play a fundamental role in our ecosystem. For such small, short-lived creatures, bees do a lot to keep the Earth in balance – helping to make approximately a third of our food supply, as well as keeping all kinds of spices, medicines and essential greenery flourishing. According to the British Beekeepers Association, the economic value of bees as pollinators of commercially grown insect-pollinated crops in the UK has been estimated at over £200 million per year; that’s a lot to be dependent on these stripy little creatures. Despite their importance, bees are in danger of disappearing from our environment – particularly due to the loss of natural habitats from modern farming practices, as well as the varroa mite that attacks honey bees and has killed the majority of the wild colonies. Our fluffy yellow and black friends need all the help they can get, so it’s a good job brands such as Burt’s Bees are making such a concerted effort to give their little communities a much-needed boost.
HOW DOES BEE POLLINATION WORK?
If you can’t recall from GCSE biology, pollination is essentially the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower (the anther) to the female part of the flower (the stigma). When the two meet, a plant’s seed or suit is formed. Although some plants can pollinate themselves or rely on the wind to give them a helping hand, others need animals to assist with the process. Bees are great pollinators because they tend to focus their energy on one species of plant at a time; this means much higher quality pollination occurs, with all plants of one species are getting an even distribution of vital pollen from others of its same species. Without the help of our bee friends, our every day food supply would look very different.
HONEY TO THE BEE
Although it’s a food product created by bees and intended to be used as a food store for their hive during the winter, it’s a food product that us humans are rather fond of too. It’s made by bees regurgitating nectar and passing it back and forth in their mouths to one another before depositing and sealing it in a honeycomb – sounds gross, but tastes yummy.
WHAT ABOUT THE WAX?
Worker bees have special wax-producing glands on their abdomens that convert the honey they produce into beeswax; once it’s consumed by them it’s excreted through small pores and appears like small flakes on the bee. Once they’re chewed the flakes become white and soft – it’s this that the bees use to make the honeycomb that’s so familiar to us. Clever huh?
FLOURISHING FLORA & FAUNA
Bees don’t just have a positive impact
on our food chains and tummies, but they also play a really important
role in pollinating flowers and contributing to the beautification of
the planet’s floral landscapes. Bees perpetuate floral growth and
provide attractive habitats for insects and birds, helping their
communities to flourish too.
It’s often said that the ‘end of the bees would be the end of the world as we know it,’ and that’s why. Albert Einstein said: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” They play such an important role in our every day lives, but the majority go completely unnoticed. With modern environmental issues playing havoc with their natural habitats and ability to work effectively, it’s important that we support the bees – and the brands that support them too. So what can you do? Why not adopt a beehive and support the British Beekeepers Association? The money raised from your £30.00 donation will fund research in to honey bee health and education programmes for beekeepers, as well as giving you a nice little pot of honey and a Burt’s Bees lip balm. (What a cracking little Christmas gift!) If you want to get more hands on, then why not make your own bee space and encourage a thriving bee friendly habitat? All you need is a window box or patio plant-pot, which you can either leave to become completely wild or use the British Beekeepers Association planting guide to ensure it’s a rich area to help feed the bees. If you’re not a keen gardener, then simply support local beekeepers by buying their organic honey and natural brands (including Burt’s Bees) who will continue to do the work on your behalf.
If there were no longer flourishing populations of bees across the globe, then it would be more than our morning cereal that would suffer. Bees play a fundamental role in our ecosystem and would leave behind devastation if their population significantly declined. Burt’s Bees are proud sponsors of the British Beekeepers Association, helping to make a real difference in both awareness and practical improvements to our bees’ habitats. Every purchase you make not only supports communities across the globe, but helps to support the bees themselves. Is there any other Christmas gift that can make such an impact, while helping to look after your dry and flaky bits? I thought not.
‘Warmest Wishes From Nature Week’ is brought to you in association with Burt’s Bees.
Discover more about Burt’s Bees and their Christmas gifting collection (which starts at £5.99) on their website. Have a go on their Christmas Gift Finder and pick out the perfect treat for a loved one too!
SHOP BURT’S BEES HOLIDAY GIFTS
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Burt’s Bees. All opinions are my own.