Environmentalists around the world are concerned that bees are endangered. This week’s blog looks at bees and their role in the environment.
Are bees endangered?
It has been widely reported that bees are struggling in the wild and, in 2016, several American bee species were listed as endangered for the first time. Even more alarmingly, a recent German study showed that numbers of all flying insects fell by 75% in the last 25 years. Insects are vital for the survival of all life on earth, acting as pollinators for plants and prey for larger animals. They are a key part of the food chain and crucial to the survival of ecosystems, where all elements are co-dependent. Honeybees pollinate about 70% of global food crops. There are many possible causes for the decline of insects. Among the clearest threats to bees is the widespread use of pesticides and cultivation of monocultures in industrial farming.
The Good News
Human activity is threatening bees and insects, but we also have the power to reverse their decline. After years of campaigning, governments are finally starting to take action. In a recent landmark decision, European Union member states have voted to restrict the use of one of the most harmful groups of pesticides, known as neonicotinoids.
What can you do?
The EU ban on neonicotinoids is a start but it doesn’t go far enough. Regulators in the USA must also now look at banning these harmful pesticides. This is not just for the sake of endangered bees, but for the survival of all life on earth. You can help by signing this petition supported by Neal’s Yard Remedies which points out that: “American honeybee colonies have been dying at a rate of about 30% per year, every year, since 2006. Since 1947, the American bee population has plummeted from 6 million honey-producing hives to just 2.5 million.”
You can also help by planting flowers and helping to build better habitats. Lavender and hyacinths are perfect for feeding insects. Leaving areas of grass to grow is also beneficial as it can provide habitats for insects to lay their eggs.
Can supporting ethical honey help?
Honeybees are just one variety of insect, but helping to protect them can have a huge knock-on effect. Supporting the responsible farmers who look after their bees can encourage the development of diverse and rich ecosystems. This can help other insects and wildlife thrive. However, to ensure your honey is ethical, make sure you buy local and organic varieties. Many mass-produced varieties are detrimental to environmental health and fail to place the welfare of the bees first.
Honey is a healthy and natural product, and next week’s blog will explore some of its health benefits. In the meantime, why not check out some of the products which harness the nourishing properties of nature’s most perfect ingredient, such as this Coconut Milk and Honey Shampoo from Pure Life Soap, made with organic honey.