World Bee Day was declared by the UN General assembly in 2017 and first acknowledged on 20th May 2018. The date that was chosen was also the birthday of Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping.
He was born in 1734 in Slovenia and praised his bees for working so hard and not needing to be managed very much.
Bees have been working tirelessly for hundreds of years to pollinate most of the agricultural crops we rely on for food. The decline in bee populations worldwide is another stark wake up call to the fact that biodiversity across the planet is in grave danger, from chemical farming, habitat destruction and a changing climate. Other vital pollinators like moths, butterflies, bats and hummingbirds are also under threat.
May 22nd was also international biodiversity day and yet every day should be a day to celebrate the wonder of nature and what she provides for humanity.
Technology could never replace the intricacies of the interdependent system and whatever the obsessions of the consumer culture and the narrative of the celebrity – unless we can set a wave of awareness and change in motion we may be left with the end of humanity as we know it – story versus another chapter in the wonderous adventure.
Bees are like mobile sexual organs of plants and their sense of smell is part of how they choose which plants to visit. They carry pollen in tiny sacks attached to their legs and when they find nectar communicate with the hive by dancing the map. They can fly for many kilometres at a time and are tireless in their endeavours
I have often been captivated watching the bees at work in my garden and their presence alerts me to the other little buzzing insects that are also pollinators. I read that bees have been a part of European folklore and the first beekeepers believed it was important to announce the key events of a village to the bees, the birthdays, deaths and marriages.
When I get the chance to walk on the beach I am astonished by the bees that end up on the shore – I can’t fathom why they head for salt water and often end up drowning. I am there to rescue them and my walks are zig zag along the shoreline as I find the bee and return it to level ground with vegetation.
My name means honeybee and I have some of their characteristics. I love to dance to tell stories, am a hard worker and often way too busy and I love flowers. But all this love can’t replace what they do and for that I am a grateful human in awe of their unique wonder. EACH AND EVERY DAY.
Here are a few ideas for you to do your bit when it comes to looking after these miracle workers.
- Plant bee friendly gardens with a variety of flowers that bloom throughout the seasons
- Support your local beekeeper and choose organic honey from local suppliers
- Choose organic produce and grow your own vegetables and flowers. There are more pesticides out there than you want in your body so this is the best first step you can take in improving your health
- Don’t use pesticides your garden
- Have water available so that in very hot weather bees and other creatures can drink. Keep a stone in the water so there are no accidental drownings.
Raw honey has amazing health benefits as well and can be used topically to treat burns and various skin ailments.
I have two jars of raw, unfiltered, organic Honey – from the bees of the Overberg to give to a reader who loves bees and honey.
The give-away is by lucky draw and you need to enter here with a sentence why you love bees.
Entries close at the end of June.
About the honey
The wild bees of Dasberg in the Overberg in the Western Cape have an abundant supply of mountain fynbos and other regional flowers to feast from and access to fresh mountain spring water. In ideal conditions the hives are full to overflowing with honey and that is when Anton Rousseau, the bee whisperer of the region visits them to harvest.
The honey is a marvel of creation, a gift to us from the most magical of creatures and the ultimate agricultural partner in the food chain.
This honey is untouched in the process of transfer from the hive. It is not irradiated, mixed with false sugars or syrups, heated or treated in any way that would reduce its health benefits and potency.