There’s no denying that tensions are mounting over the effects climate change is having on our planet.
As well as causing storms, flooding, droughts and sea levels rising, with global warming having the potential to seriously affect society as we know it, climate change is also wiping out hundreds of our planet’s precious species.
One of Britain’s most threatened species? The bees. In fact, 35 UK bee species are under threat of extinction, and all species face serious threats.
According to experts at Friends Of The Earth: “The decline in bees’ diversity and abundance would have a serious impact on how our natural world functions. This includes our food crops. Bees pollinate much of the food that makes our diets healthy and tasty – from the apple in our lunchbox, to the tomatoes on our pizza.”
As they explain: “As winters become warmer and wetter, and seasons shift there are signs that some wild species may be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Scientists are starting to detect that changes in climate may be disrupting bee nesting behaviour and their emergence after winter. Climate change may also be as affecting the timing of the flowering of plants that bees rely on for food. The Tawny mining bee has managed to adapt to changing climate conditions, by moving northwards; but it is not certain that all bee species will be equally adaptable. A warming climate could restrict the range of bumblebees since studies have shown they have difficulty moving northwards.
Apple trees, for example, could be in blossom at a different time from when the bees are active. This would mean the bees have less food, and the trees don’t get pollinated or produce fruit. As certain bee species move north, there could be only a small area of the UK where apple orchards overlap with the bees they need for pollination. This could affect many food crops in a similar way; it could also affect bees’ health.”
If you’re as concerned as we are at GLAMOUR HQ about the future of the bees, we asked the apiarists from the Cowdray Estate – David Reilly, Dean Atkins and John Fisher, Cowdray Honey is sourced from hives located across the varied terrain of the 16,500-acre Estate. Three apiarists – David Reilly, Dean Atkins and John Fisher – who manage the hives located at diverse sites across the Estate including Heyshott, Cocking and South Ambersham, to share 5 simple ways we can all help.
1. Plant a variety of bee-friendly flowers and trees. Bees love wildflowers, clover, blackberry brambles and also benefit greatly from trees such as sweet chestnut, lime, hawthorn, hazel and sycamore. They provide food at different times of the year so experiment.
2. Buy local honey. Support your local bee farmers in growing their colonies by buying local honey.
3. Avoid pesticides and herbicides in your garden. Bees don’t like chemicals either and nor should you in your honey.
4. Mow your lawn less. Cutting your lawn frequently removes valuable sources of nectar such as dandelions and clover. Let the grass grow a little longer and enjoy the wildlife returning.
5. Provide an easy water source. Leave a little bowl or bucket out with sticks and stones in the bottom so they don’t drown. Making honey is thirsty work.