Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 8th July 2017
July 10th is National Don’t Step on a Bee Day, and we are bee-ing urged to help spread the message on Facebook or Twitter by tag @BeeGood_UK or use #DontStepOnABeeDay to help raise awareness. Anything that raises awareness of our hardworking honey bees is excellent news but please remember to try not to step on a bee any other day too.
I love working alongside my own bees in the garden and was lucky enough to get a photo of this hard working worker bee recently as she gathered pollen right next to me (see photo).
Can you bee-lieve that 85% of our honey here in the UK is imported? But with the wealth of bee keepers on our doorstep there is really no need. You can support your local bee keeper by visiting a near-by farm shop or deli for local honey or contact your local bee association who will be able to give you details of a local supplier.
Friends of the Earth have created a clever app. for your phone, which allows you to log the bees you spot when you are out and about. This, in turn, builds a picture of bee health and activity in the UK to help the bees. You can find out more at www.foe.co.uk/bee-count
You can also bee-come a Friend of the Honey Bee. ‘Friends of the Honey Bee’ is a national campaign organised by the British Beekeepers Association who are working hard to build a better future for Britain’s honey bees and other pollinators by planting more pollen-rich environments, encouraging others to plant for the honey bees and funding research into the varroa mite and honey bee health.
Their campaign is encouraging people to ‘bee a hero’ and help to get Britain buzzing with bees again and they have recently announced their new partnership with the iconic British and honey-loving bear, Winnie-the-Pooh!
To encourage families to help honey bees, they’ve joined forces with Egmont Publishing – the publisher of the classic Winnie-the-Pooh stories – to create a special ‘bee-friendly’ guide, which you can download from the website at www.friendsofthehoneybee.com
The pupils of Blaenavon Heritage V.C. Primary School are already ahead of the curve when it comes to bee-ing active in helping our bees. They have been involved with the Pontypool Schools Market Project to find a product to develop and sell, and make as much profit as possible, while completing business and communication plans as they progress in the project. The initiative has been supported by Blaenavon company RWA who kick started the project with a £50 ‘seed’ fund & practical business support to help them get it off the ground.
The pupils have decided to market packets of wildflower seeds to help the bees across the county of Torfaen. They will be at Pontypool Market on the 14th July, 10am – 2pm, do please support them – and the bees – by going along to purchase your packet of seeds for just £1.
More details (and a very cute video) at https://www.facebook.com/bhvcprimary/videos/331212437309767/
My bee keeping mentor once shared this ‘advice from a honey bee’, with me:
Always create a buzz
Don’t forget to sip life’s sweet nectar,
Mind your own beeswax
Be able to find your way home
Stick close to your honey
And the most important – just bee yourself.
I had an email last week from one of the major seed companies, saying that their recent analysis of veg sales had turned up some surprising results. Titled, ‘Brexit Backlash as Gardeners Choose ‘Euro Veg’’, they wrote that they had noticed that since the Brexit vote last year, sales of vegetable seeds with European connections are considerably up on last year, whilst some with British links have performed poorly.
Vegetables such as French Beans, Brussels Sprouts, and Swiss Chard have seen sales grow by up to 44% this season and even varieties named after European towns and cities have done well. Top performers include Carrots Paris Atlas and Amsterdam Forcing 3, Lettuce Barcelona, Tomato Roma and Florence Fennel.
Strangely, those with British links haven’t fared so well. Courgette Best of British, Leek Pennine, Onion Bristol and Carrot Norwich have all seen sales fall.
We are a strange lot aren’t we?