The decline in bee numbers has been in the news recently and it is crucial that we do our bit to help them – over a third of the food we eat is pollinated by them. Feeding lethargic bees with ‘watered-down sugar’ will revive them but having a hive in the garden is a different matter all together. However, bees can sting and the suits look like something out of ‘The Handmaids Tale’.
That’s why we love the look of B-box, a friendly ‘home’ beehive that is safe for you and the little people in your life. You can watch the bees at work behind the safety of glass without the threat of being stung and you can harvest your own honey – a food that never goes off.
You know that we like gadgets at Foresight, so we are going to order one. We will update you once we have received and set it up. However, this is an Indiegogo crowdfunding project, so you have to wait for the project to come to fruition before getting the product – November 2019 in this case. And these projects do have a habit of being optimistic in terms of delivery dates – and can even fail to deliver.
Here are 10 fascinating facts about bees:
- Bees are essential for food production. It is estimated that the total value of crops pollinated by insects is £510m per year in the UK.
- Bees use the “waggle dance” to teach each other about the direction and location of food sources that can be up to 750 metres away.
- Apples, almonds, onions, lemons, cherries, carrots and many more of our favourite foods depend on pollination by bees.
- There are 267 different species of bees in the UK
- There are up to 20,000 species of bees worldwide.
- In the UK, many species of bee are declining, with two bumblebee species known to be extinct. (Breeze, T. D., Roberts, S., and Potts, S. (2012) ‘The Decline of England’s Bees: Policy review and recommendations’, Friends of the Earth and University of Reading), available online
- Bees have four wings. They hook them together to form one big pair when flying and then unhook them easily when not flying. The four wings are also a way of telling bees from hoverflies, which only have two wings.
- Honey bees and their hives are often used as metaphors for human societies, because they are well organised and can have up to 60,000 bees living together in one hive. .
- Honey bee hives have one queen, hundreds of male drones and thousands of female workers cooperating.
- Bumblebees are social and they live together in small nests ruled by a queen.
- The bumblebee used to be known as the humblebee – because when it flies, it hums (of course!). The word ‘bumblebee’ gained popularity in the early 20th century, and by 1959, the humble humblebee had been lost.
- Professor Dumbledore’s name in Harry Potter comes from the Cornish word for bumble bee?
- Bees are not the only pollinators, they get help from butterflies, moths, flies, wasps and beetles, as well as some birds and mammals.
- Bees collect pollen, which is fed to the growing larvae back in the hive and used to stock nests.
- An average hive produces around 11kg – around 24 jars – of honey per season.
- Honey bees only sting when they sense danger or to protect the colony. A worker bee dies after it has stung.
- Solitary bees like to live on their own. They do not produce honey and they don’t have a queen either.
- Solitary bees are even more efficient pollinators than honey bees. Just one red mason bee can pollinate as much as 120 worker honey bees.
- Most solitary bees nest in the ground, they are the mining bees. Some species, such as mason and leafcutter bees nest above ground. They are known as cavity nesting bees and like to live in walls, dead wood or cavities in trees. They are also most likely to move into a bee hotel.
- Bees are able to extract heavy metals and pollutants when producing honey, so they can actually create very clean honey in the city. .
If you would like more information on how to help save the bees click here … https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees
In in the meantime it’s back to work….…You know that we are always busy bees.