It's World Bee Day on Friday 20th May!
World Bee Day celebrations help raise awareness about the threats to bees from various human activities, and show how many simple ways we can help our fuzzy buzzy bees.
In December 2017, the United Nations approved World Bee Day to become an international day and the very first World Bee Day was held on Sunday 20th May 2018. It's celebrated across the world, and was created in honour of Anton Janša, who is known as the Father of Beekeeping.
But why celebrate it? Not only do bees contribute to the pollination of wildflowers, but they also help to pollinate agricultural crops. Bees and their fellow pollinators help pollinate roughly 90% of flowering plants, and around 70% of the world's main crops. Therefore, if bee numbers decline, then these numbers will drop and farmers will lose their crops.
Hops are a wind-pollinated crop, however, bees do still love to dip in and out of the flower beds, collecting the pollen to make honey, so we do still rely on them to help us grow our lovely 8 acre hop garden with their help in pollinating the crops. Hops are also proven as a way of helping bees. They produce Hops Beta Acids that is found in the Lupulin Glands (the yellow bits in the picture), which when diluted to 1% concentration, has been proven to kill 100% of Varroa mites - little bugs that get into bee hives and attack honey bees. So, hops can help to produce bee-friendly pesticides, killing those mites without harming the bees!
You can help protect bees in many different ways. The most popular way is simply to plant bee-friendly flowers and crops! There's a whole list of different plants that bees love, so we've just chosen a few of our favourites.
Lavender - A stunningly vibrant purple plant. It's easy to take care of and provides a lovely scent too! Colin has been busy planting some more lavender on our site to help look after the bees, so look out for it on your next visit!
Hawthorn - This is famed for its bright white blossoms, another highly scented plant that is sure to bring more beauty to your garden.
Bluebells - One of the UK's most loved wildflowers, they're easy to grow and add bright splashes of colour during April and May.
Rosemary - A wonderfully fragranced culinary herb that can be used for various dishes in the kitchen and keeps wildlife happy.
Other ways you can help save the bees is by building bug hotels like ours that Colin made from a broken down tree after Storm Eunice, to protect them from predators, and using bee-friendly pesticides to keep bugs off your plants without harming our honey-making friends. You can also help by buying locally-sourced honey from beekeepers that practice sustainable beekeeping!