World Bee Day is May 20th – its significance and how you can help the bees

World Bee Day is May 20th – its significance and how you can help the bees

If you have not heard about the challenges facing bees and other pollinator insects, you must be living under a rock. Intensive use of land by the fast expanding human population, how we farm or even look after our garden has placed significant pressure on the bee population. That is why some clever people created World Bee Day.  It is a good idea to set aside one day, to reflect on bees, and the day is 20th of May every year.

So, what are the things you can do on World Bee Day to remember and take action that can help these lovely creatures?

Create awareness by sending a FREE World Bee Day eCard

Some of the human activities that are negatively impacting the bees are born of ignorance rather than deliberate lack of care for the bees. So, why not send a FREE Happy Bee Day eCard to your friends and family, to help raise awareness about bees. Charity eCard website, Hope Spring is offering free save the bees eCards on their website. Just visit the free ecards section of their website, use the provided token to send a free Happy Bee Day eCard.

Improve your knowledge of the challenges facing the bees

Bees are beset by the same environmental challenges as other species, including habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation; non-native species and diseases; pollution, including pesticides; and climate change.

Here in the UK, Changes in land use, including insensitive urban development and intensive farming, have caused great losses and fragmentation of pollinator-friendly habitats. This leads to bees losing the diverse and nutritional food sources required for their healthy diet.

It’s important that bees have enough flowers to forage – and safe places to use for nesting, among vegetation, the soil and hedges. But since World War II, we have lost about 98% of our wildflower meadows, leaving the bees with little natural habitat.

Climate change is also having an impact. The shift in temperatures and seasons affects when insects are active and when food is available, which may no longer coincide. New pests and diseases can also strike as the climate changes, devastating bee colonies which have little or no resistance. Bees feel the effects of climate change more greatly than those of habitat disturbance. A recent research found that the abundance and diversity of bee populations are heavily determined by weather conditions. During the study, higher temperatures and more intense rainfall during Winter and Spring months were associated with a lower abundance of wild bees. It is undeniable that climate change poses a huge threat to the wild bee population, and hence our global food supply.

The use of pesticides has also been identified as one of the causes of decline in bee population. 

A study by Dr Richard Gill of Imperial College London, shows how factors associated with land use change affects pollinating insects. He says, ‘They target what are known as nicotinic acetylcholinesterase receptors. These are similar receptors to those that nicotine binds to in humans.’

‘Effectively, this information instructs the insect on how to move, think and learn. Normally, a second molecule will then come and break down the substance that is stimulating the nerve.’

With neonicotinoids, however, this is where the problems arise. The molecule of neonicotinoid has high affinity to the receptor, meaning that it is very difficult to break down.

‘Basically, it causes the insects to become hyperactive. Excess stimulation and the insect has a seizure, a bit like an epileptic fit,’ says Richard.

Save the bees

About two-thirds of the crop plants that feed the world rely on pollination by insects or other animals to produce healthy fruits and seeds for human consumption. Pollination benefits human nutrition – enabling not only the production of an abundance of fruits, nuts and seeds, but also more variety and better quality. 

Below are some of the things you and I can do to help curb the alarming decline in bee population:

  • Plant native wildflowers 
  • Keep part or all of your garden untidy, to make more room for wildlife
  • Adopt a beehive
  • Support smaller, local, organic farms
  • Create awareness by sending bee ecards to your friends and colleagues
  • Support current bills and other pollinator initiatives
 

Spring Herb Walk in The Birches

 

Spring into action in 2022 with a herb foraging walk in the Birches.  Walk from The Hive in Much Birch, along part of the Hereford Trail into Little Birch and onward to Athestan wood. The walk is led by herb expert Rowan McOnegal.

With winter giving way to spring, the fields and hedgerows are waking up with tender shoots of leaves, buds and flowers along the walk route. Rowan McOnegal will highlight the common plants along the way; how they can be used for food or medicine and which plants to stay well away from.

You will have ample opportunity to ask Rowan questions and you may even be able to pick springtime herbs with cleansing properties to help you clean out the dregs of winter and put a spring into your steps for the rest of the year!

Spring Herb Walk from Much Birch More information

Rowan McOnegal studied herbal medicine at the School of Herbal Medicine (Phytotherapy), and botany at the University of Birmingham. She qualified as a medical herbalist in 1990.

She is a  consultant Medical Herbalist and an artist. For many years Rowan grew and made most of her own medicines, whilst teaching others to do likewise.  You can find more information about her on her website Hedgerow Medicine.

Book Your Place

Space on the walk is limited, so it is important that you book your place well in advance.

Fee: £25

Book via Eventbrite

Pay securely using PayPal 

Questions?   Email: temi@temi.co.uk  or call Temi on : 07939 276451

 

Log Hive Making Workshop for Natural Beekeeping

Log Hive Making Workshop for Natural Beekeeping

We are pleased to announce our first log hive making workshop in Herefordshire. As a participant, you will learn the skills you need to make a log hive. You will learn to design and make a log hive to stand on stilts, or to be placed securely, high up on a tree.  A log hive is like a  bee hotel for honeybees. It mimics the preferred home of honey bees in nature. Offering insulation against the cold in winter and a barrier against  heat in the summer months.

Once you learn the skills you need to build a log hive, you are ready to build one for your garden or for family and friends, helping to save and encourage bees conservation in your area.

The workshop includes discussion on the life cycle of bees in the wild, how to prepare a  hive and encourage bees to move in. There will be a wider discussion on how to help honey bees and other  pollinator insects.

Date: October 2022

Time: 9.30 – 5PM

Facilitators: Temi Odurinde and Donald Broughton

Venue:  The Hive, Much Birch. Herefordshire

Cost:  £150

For more information, please use the contact form here.

Bees in their natural habitat – Free Living Bees

Bees in their natural habitat – Free Living Bees

Honey bees are probably the most domesticated insects in the world, if you can describe keeping bees as domesticating them.  We have been so successful at keeping bees, that their “wild” cousins, living freely in their natural habitat are not so common any more.

An awesome project called Free Living Honey Bees promotes and shares the joy of seeing honey bees spotting in their natural habitat.  You can find information about wild honey bees from the UK and around the world on the website.  If you spot a wild bee colony, you can share pictures and videos of it with the community. 

Temi Odurinde shared a picture and video of honey bees he spotted in Herefordshire with the free living bee community on this page.

10 beginners books on conventional and natural beekeeping

10 beginners books on conventional and natural beekeeping

1. A beginner’s guide to Natural Beekeeping

Released in May 2001, A beginners guide to natural beekeeping is a basic, introductory book to natural beekeeping. The book does not have detailed in-depth practical beekeeping information like some of the other books. It is aimed primarily at people who are thinking about getting started in beekeeping.

2. Natural Beekeeping with the Warre Hive

Natural beekeeping with Warre Hive is another awesome natural beekeeping book a beginner should have in his or her beekeeping tool kit. David Heaf’s book has a section that covers in great detail the material, construction, and components of the Warré hive. It covers everything you need to know on how to build the Warre Hive from scratch and if you don’t want to build your own, there is a resource section in the back of the book including someone who makes them. Other sections cover such topics as getting, hiving, feeding your bee; monitoring and enlarging your hive etc.

3. Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture

In this Ross Conrad’s natural beekeeping book, the best strategies for keeping honey bees healthy are laid out in simple details.  Ross brings together the methods and strategies for controlling mites; breeding for naturally resistant bees, eliminating foulbrood diseases and many others.  chapter on marketing provides valuable advice for anyone who intends to sell a wide range of hive products. Valuable advice is also provided for those that intend to sell a wide range  of hive products in the chapter on marketing. This is a book for beginners, experienced beekeepers that are looking to develop accurate knowledge of pest-management and someone that’s into bee products business. 

4. Homegrown Honey Bees: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping Your First

If you are  new to beekeeping, then you might want to grasp and read a copy of Alethea Morrisson’s book. The book is specifically designed for those that are completely new to the world of beekeeping. It is a book that experts alike will find informative and probably share with a fellow beekeeper.  With  explicit texts and beautiful pictures, this book will certainly whet your appetite for beekeeping. It is packed with an in-depth discussion  of colony hierarchy, allergies, bee behavior, and more. 

5. The Backyard Beekeeper, 4th Edition: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden

This is a masterpiece from highly experienced beekeeper, Kim Flottum. He understands the needs of a beekeeper quite so well. The Backyard Beekeeper is a must-have tool kit for newbies, for Flottum communicates unequivocally to those that are just dipping their toes into the world of beekeeping. The book contains fun facts, helpful tips and a short humurous narrative that helps make reading less tediuos.  

6. The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally

The author of the book introduces the reader to the fundamentals of beekeeping, the players, namely the queen,the workers,drone, and the beekeeper. In this book you will learn about how you can keep bees in a natural and simple practical system without worrying about pests and diseases  and minimal intervention by you. Essentially, it is about reducing your work as a beekeeper. The book is a collection of posts on the author’s website, the content of which was written and refined from comments on bee forums over the years. The Practical Beekeeper contains 3 volumes; the beginners, intermediate and advanced. 

7. Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

Buzz, written by Thor Hanson introduces the reader to the history of beekeeping and how important these honey-making insects are to humanity. The book also touches on the decline in the bee population. Buzz contains tips and narratives which the beginner and experienced beekeeper would find informative. So regardless of how long or short your journey in beekeeping has been, you would certainly find something new to learn in this book. 

8. The Beekeeper’s Bible

Another great book for beginners! “The Beekeeper’s Bible” goes over the history of beekeeping all the way to hive management and it also features a number of recipes for products with bee-based ingredients. The Beekeeper’s Bible is an ultimate and practical guide to the fundamentals of beekeeping and is a book for all levels of beekeeping. 

9. Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies

This is another beekeeping book for beginners, written by an experienced beekeeper, Amber Bradshaw. The book contains beekeeping essentials including  everything you need to know to begin your first colony, how to start your colony off right with simple guides that feature the best practices and  natural approaches. It also includes clearly defined terms and a complete glossary that will have you talking like a pro beekeeper in no time.

10. The Hive and the Honey Bee Revisited: An Annotated Update of Langstroth’s Classic

With inspiring, practical and clearly laid out techniques for beekeeping, Roger Hoopingarner’s The Hive and the Honey Bee Revisited is certainly one of the most informative beekeeping literature out there. It is an ideal book for the aspiring beekeeper and what the experienced folks should have in their tool kit. The book covers topics like tools, obtaining, sitting and hiving your bees, feeding, and monitoring the hive, harvesting and extracting honey with simple tools etc. 

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