The climate crisis has been wreaking havoc on bees and pollinators’ natural habitats. Pollinators just aren’t colonizing new areas and establishing hives fast enough to match rapid human-caused climate change. Recent research shows that bee territories have shrunk by nearly 100km across North America and Europe.
As temperatures rise, we enjoy colourful blooms earlier in spring. But this isn’t great for our bumble buds. With earlier blooms there is a potential mismatch between when flowers produce pollen and when the bees are ready to feed on that pollen. Even a miss of three to six days can drastically affect a bee health, making them less inclined to reproduce and less resistant to predators and parasites such as the varroa mite.
Honeybees in particular are susceptible to parasites such as varroa mites and nosema ceranae and these environmental stresses are increasing infections. A recent study found that lower temperatures were associated with lower prevalence of the mites, indicating that higher temperatures, as a result of climate change, could result in more bees becoming infected with nosema ceranae and varroa mites.
So that is the bad news, however, hope is not yet lost. There are still things we can be doing, even as individuals, to help the bees. At eco+amour we are all about finding small solutions to create a large impact. Be it bringing your own ceramic travel mug to the coffee shop, to refilling your laundry soap jug instead of buying a brand new plastic jug, there is always something that we can be doing to drive positive change.
So here are some easy tips to help you get started helping out our little buzzy buddies:
1. Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees that provide nectar and pollen as food for bees and other pollinators.
2. Save dandelions. We’ve been conditioned into thinking they are the evil weed that ruins a nice lawn, but they are a really good friend to bees.
3. Plant herbs and veggies. Lavender, basil, mint and tomatoes provide food for bees and for us. A snack for them, a snack for you.
4. Avoid disturbing or destroying nest or hibernating insects. Especially in places like grass margins, bare soil, hedgerows, trees, dead wood or walls.
5. Put down the pesticides, especially where pollinators are active or are nesting, or where plants are in bloom. Avoid chemicals and adopt methods like physically removing pests or using barriers to deter them.
6. Buy local, organic fruit and veggies to support beekeepers in your area.
Bottom line: every little bit counts. Spread the word and get your friends and family making little changes like these. If nothing else, it is a great way to get the kids out of the house and interested in nature!