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 the number 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 an essential part of the food chain and crucial to the survival of ecosystems, where all elements are co-dependent. For example, honeybees pollinate about 70% of global food crops. There are many possible causes for the decline of insects. Among the most explicit threats to bees is the widespread use of pesticides and the 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 states 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. For example, lavender and hyacinths are perfect for feeding insects. Leaving grass areas 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 insects, but helping to protect them can have a considerable 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, make sure you buy local and organic varieties to ensure your honey is ethical. Many mass-produced types 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.