May 20th is dedicated to bees around the world and the fantastic job they do to keep our world going! Find out more about World Bee Day here.
What is it?
This international day was set-up to raise awareness of the importance of bees and the key role they play in our ecosystems. After 3 years of campaigning, 20th May was declared National Bee Day in 2017- a chance to recognise how important they are to our daily lives. According to the World Bee Day Society, “20 May is the birth date of Anton Janša (1734–1773), a Slovenian beekeeper, the pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the greatest authorities on the subject of bees.”
Why are bees so important?
In a growing world, the need for food and food security is an ever-growing issue. Not only do bees produce tasty high-value products such as honey and royal jelly, but they also play a vital role as pollinators. Without them, much of our food would not be produced - “A third of the world’s food production depends on bees, i.e. every third spoonful of food depends on pollination.” This is a huge amount! In addition to this, successful pollination of crops ensures that steady money is paid to farmers, so they can support their families and continue to feed the world.
Bees also have an important job in maintaining biodiversity. They protect many other species (both plant and animal) and keep our landscapes flowering. The presence (or absence) of bees also tells us how well an environment is doing - lots of happy, healthy bees means a happy, healthy land!
I’m sold - what can I do?
First and foremost, raise awareness of how important bees are to our everyday lives. Many people think that they are a pest (and are fearful of being stung: according to a risk analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health, your chance of being stung by a bee is about 6 million to one!) but this isn’t true at all. Secondly, you can create your own little bee houses like the one below: