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B is the second letter of the alphabet, and it shares its phonetics with the bee. Did you know that our bees are becoming endangered? Do you like honey and what would the world be without it? Here are ways you can help the bees so we can continue to enjoy the health boosting Manuka honey.

Manuka honey was commonly found in Australia and New Zealand, and it is now produced worldwide. What’s great about Manuka honey is that it has antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-proliferative properties.

Antioxidants remove free radicals from internal body cells, preventing and reducing the damage caused by chemical reactions that change due to oxygen. Free radicals can contribute to causing cancer by damaging DNA and causing mutations.

An antimicrobial substance destroys living microorganisms such as bacteria and mould and can stop them growing, in turn preventing disease.

Manuka honey which remarkably also has anti-proliferative properties can supress malignant cell growth. It’s safe to say that Manuka honey has miraculous potential in keeping our bodies safe from harm of disease, infection, and cancer.

So why are the bees dying? The severe decline in bees is caused by pollution, climate change and habitat loss. Habitat loss is largely caused by farming, as there has been an increased use of pesticides which harm our wild bees.

Thankfully, it is unlikely that we will live to see a world without bees or honey, however that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be protected right now. There are around 20,000 species of bees around the world. The UK which is the native home to 25 of these species has seen the extinction of 3 species and 6 of these species have declined by 80%, as statistics reported in 2020. Two of the UK’s rarest species of bees, the Shrill Carder, and the Great Yellow, now only survive in more flower dense areas such as the Scottish Highlands.

There are even more species of bees endangered in the US, which is the native home to 12 endangered species. The bumblebee that is more commonly known is becoming one of them. The rusty patch bumblebee was listed as an endangered species in 2017 and just a year before that, in 2016, 7 varieties of the Hawaiian yellow faced bee joined the endangerment list. In 2023 The Centre for Biological Diversity and the Bombus Pollinators Association of Law Students began petitioning to put the American bumblebee on the endangerment list after they reported that the American bumblebee had seen a decline by 89%.

It is a harder battle to save the bees from becoming endangered based on their decline due to climate change and pollution, unless we were all to change our carbon footprint (which is already a valuable change to protect our Earth!). Colder temperatures and rainfall after hot periods of weather can harm and kill our bees. The change in the weather and temperature is due to climate change caused by pollution. (You can see more ways to minimise your carbon footprint at the end of this article)

We can, however, easily help the bees by helping them thrive in their natural habitat. Bees drink the nectar from the pollen of flowers, which they then use to create honey in their hives. A great suggestion to help the bees (and your mood!) is to buy and plant more flowers for your garden, if you have one. Old wood from trees are a great home for bees as they contain the correct thermal insulation that bees need to survive. If you have a safe space to place logs or dead trees, then that is another great way to help our bees. Bees also need bare ground to complete their lifecycle. If you have the space, then having a patch of bare soil in your garden can help the bees to nest and bask in the sunshine! The best soil is natural and undisturbed, there can also be a litter of leaves for the bees on the ground. Of course, one of the best ways to help the bees is to stop the use of pesticides. If you are feeling more adventurous, perhaps you can even put your own beehive in your garden and gain a new colony of friends!

I first took an interest in bees after visiting a local wildlife reserve which had a large colony of bees residing there in hives. You could donate and volunteer at your local wildlife reserve to learn more and contribute!

A list of some wildlife that are safe for bees and your gardens:

- Sunflowers

- Lavender

- Chives

- Foxglove

- Snowdrop

- Rosemary

- Beebalm

- Honeysuckle

- Willow tree

- Primrose

- Violets

- Leptospermum Scoparium (the Manuka honey tree)

Sign the Friends of the Earth petition to demand a healthy enviroment for bees by clicking here!

Ways to minimise your carbon footprint:

- Recycling objects such as plastic, cardboard and tins as they can be reused in future. I enjoy using Pilot Bottle pens which are made from recycled drinking water bottles, how cool!

- Saving energy and using solar powered energy – Don’t forget to turn those lights off! Using solar energy doesn’t need to be as big as adding it to your roofs, you can buy solar powered lights, solar powered batteries, and even solar powered earbuds!

- Reusing – especially plastic bags as this causes a major damage to our planet Earth and our wildlife!

- Use less water – Don’t stop showering! Instead, be mindful of the water that you use, I know I’m guilty of leaving the tap running at times whilst I’m washing the dishes.

- Ditch your car and walk where you can!

- Insulate your home so that you need to use less gas and heat. This will also help reduce the price of your gas and energy bills.

- Changing your diet can also help minimise your carbon footprint. Farming and agriculture causes around 24-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions which contributes to climate change. Adding more veggies to your diet can be useful and even better if they are grown from your own garden or home.

Pollution is caused by the emission of harmful materials, such as gases, into the environment.

Climate change is the pattern of changing weather conditions and temperatures.