The honeybee is a complex and fascinating insect, but one that is rapidly decreasing in number. As one of the only insect that provides us with food, they play a vital role in pollination. If populations continue to drop and honeybees become extinct, we would lose a shocking 70 out of 100 crop species that feed 90% of the population (source).
The increased use of insecticides and pesticides has directly harmed the honeybee population interfering with navigation and feeding patterns. This industrial agriculture, coupled with climate change has resulted in a lack of biodiversity, putting them in serious danger. However, Low Carbon has taken certain measures to start fixing the problem.
Disclosure: collaborative post
Low Carbon have set up managed beehives in their solar parks in Cornwall, Devon and Suffolk, that now house over 2 million bees. These sites have ever-increasing biodiversity as they mature; one of the most important components to helping them thrive.
“We are committed to protecting local habitats and ecosystems on our solar farms. Encouraging biodiversity should not be a bolt on for renewable energy companies, but rather a core responsibility. Protecting bees, insects and other species is a crucial part in the fight against climate change and we look forward to continuing our work with Plan Bee in the future.” says Quentin Scott, Low Carbon’s Marketing Director. (Source)
The company is currently trialling inventive monitoring systems, which carefully observe the humidity, hive weight and weather conditions of the colonies within. These factors are all measured to ensure the bees flourish and repopulate.
Here are three simple steps you can take to help towards the preservation of honeybees.
Use bee-friendly flowers
Honeybees are heavily reliant on garden flowers to maintain a varied diet. In regions of the country with low agricultural crop levels, they can struggle with this, but there are easy ways to help. Using single flowering plants is much more effective, as double flowers can have too many petals, preventing bees from getting to the pollen and nectar. Not only this but planting purple flowers, such as lavender, alliums and catmint are more effective as bees see this colour more clearly than others. You can also choose a range of flowers and herbs that are native to your area and that will bloom at different times of the year.
Avoid using pesticides and herbicides
It’s best to avoid pesticides and herbicides as they contain chemicals that are harmful to bees, as well as other insects. Even if a pesticide or herbicide is labelled as “organic” it can still be harmful. Instead, do some research and try and use natural bee-friendly alternatives.
Supporting local and independent growers go hand in hand with supporting bees. You can support sustainable agriculture by buying your fruit and veg from local farmers markets. Though simply eating organically goes a long way to help the bees.
When deciding to help these beautiful insects, it’s good to know about honeybee behaviour. Low Carbon sees the conservation of bees as a crucial part in the fight against climate change.