We need the Bees. We may take them and other pollinators like Butterflies and Hoverflies for granted but the truth is we need them for a stable, healthy supply of food. They are the key to a varied colourful myriad of food that we expect in today’s modern world. 
 
Bees are perfectly adapted to pollinate, helping plants grow, breed and then produce our food. They do this by transferring pollen between flowering plants therefore keeping the cycle of life turning. 
Bees gather pollen to stock their nests as food for the young, having special features to collect it like combs of bristles on their bodies. Honey Bees have a feature of collecting pollen into Sacs. As Bees visit plants seeking food, pollen catches on their bodies and passes between plants – this is pollination. 
 
The vast majority of foods rely on pollination but Bees also pollinate over 80% of wildflowers in Europe so the countryside would be very bare without them as many species would die. Species such as Foxgloves, Clovers and Vetches rely on Bees.  
 
On a monetary term in the UK alone the service of Bees and other pollinators is worth £691m a year in terms of the value of the crops they pollinate and this is done for free. There is now evidence that natural pollination by the right Bee improves the quality of the crop from nutritional value to shelf life. Surely we can provide and ensure suitable natural environments in return for such service 
 
Fortunately there is growing public and even political concern at Bee decline across the world, caused by a combination of issues such as loss of habitat, climate change and the use of pesticides.  
It is so important we must recognise the importance of Bees and pollinators to our food chain, even for the sake of our children and grand children educating them accordingly. Some Bees have an affinity to particular plants so rely on a specific natural habitat and changing land use has seen the decline of these habitats. 
 
Most Honey Bees are kept by Beekeepers in colonies of managed Hives. The rest of our Bees are wild including 25 Bumblebee species and 220 types of Solitary Bee. Bees are a wonderful symbol of Nature so we must take action for them to survive and thrive. Even if you can fill your garden space with plants that attract Bees and other pollinating insects you are helping this cause in a tremendous way. 
 
Keeping Honey Bees is such fun and so interesting. I hope my tiny Apiary of several Hives helps to add healthy Bees back into the population. Just 2 Hives can pollinate an entire large garden for thriving plants! 
 
If you are keen to try your hand at Beekeeping contact your local Beekeeper’s Association at www.bbka.org.uk. They are so informative and helpful on getting started and keeping your colonies alive and well. 
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