Why Are Bees so Important?
Bees aren’t just lovely-looking insects that buzz around our gardens and make honey. These tiny workers in nature literally put food on our table; apples, oranges, lemons, limes, broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, avocados and almonds are just a few of our favourite foods that rely on bees to produce food, through cross-pollination. Without bees and other pollinators, many of these crops simply wouldn’t exist, of which considering our issues with world hunger and our increasing population, the effects would be catastrophic.
Cross-pollination helps at least 30% of our crops and 90% of our wild plants to flourish. Bees play a huge role in this, transferring pollen and seeds, fertilizing the plant so it can grow and produce edible plants for us. This ecosystem was created perfect and crops grow in abundance in this environment until man interferes with chemical sprays and fertilizers.
How Does Conventional Farming Hurt Bees?
When EU countries, including the UK, voted to ban three bee-harming pesticides, it was a massive victory for bees. But too much of our countryside and our food is still being contaminated by pesticides.
If we support organic farming, particularly local, we support our local economy and our environment.
According to the Soil Association, organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies. Plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms and there are 30% more species.
Organic farmers also plant wildflowers, which attracts bees and insects, instead of using chemicals, which harm and destroy insect life. Organic farmers rely on predator insects and birds to keep their crops safe, just as mother nature intended.
Honey has many health benefits and as far as a sugar substitute, studies have shown that using honey in place of other toxic, sugar-laden, processed foods, can inhibit the harmful effects of fungal toxins and may also improve the gut microflora.
However, I don’t encourage eating honey frequently, because even though it is a natural form of sugar, it is also very high in fructose. When any type of sugar is consumed in excess (even natural sugar!), it forces the liver to go into overdrive to convert the sugar into fat. Perhaps it would also help the bee population if we consumed less.
Action Steps You Can Take to Help Bees
- Eat Organic
- Create a bug house in your garden or local park
- Plant wildflowers in your garden
- Use honey sparingly and when you do, choose raw honey from local, trusted beekeepers (your local farmers market is a great place to find them).