One of the most important environmental crises right now is the crisis for wild bees, which are threatened by diseases, toxins and a changing landscape. In many places they are about to disappear.
Why are bees so important?
About one in three bites of food we eat is the result of pollination, and bees, along with bumblebees, are our most important pollinators. And only bees here in Sweden and near you can help pollinate the locally grown food we want to be able to enjoy. By collecting food, nectar and pollen from the flowers, the bees do us a great service. When they visit the flowers, they spread pollen and help the plants form fruits and seeds. To cover the need for pollination needed for the cultivated crops alone, we need to double the number of bees.
What is the problem?
In recent years, the world's bees have been affected by viruses and mites that have wiped out entire bee colonies. Different kinds of toxic pesticides and environmental changes, such as the disappearance of the old small-scale cultivation landscape, also hit bees hard by reducing many kinds of flowers. This is a bigger problem for wild bees than for the domesticated bees, whose keepers can help them to a greater extent and learn to deal with the various diseases that exist. The challenge for wild bees is that there are too few flowers and variety in the agricultural landscape. But wild bees thrive in many gardens and there you can help them thrive. This is one of the reasons why organic farming is so important, not only from a health point of view. Another important aspect is to avoid depletion of the soil, which is a big challenge in itself.
Different kinds of bees
Honeybees are the bees' celebrities. They are numerous and live in beehives, about 50,000 bees live together. But there are many different kinds of bees and several species actually live alone, the solitary bees. They do not produce honey, but are very important in fertilizing our plants. Honey bees can fly several kilometers from the hive in search of flowers. Solitary bees stay within a few hundred meters of the nest. This means that if you manage to get solitary bees to thrive in your vicinity, you will have little gardeners who will help you get more fruits and vegetables! There are approximately 270 different species of wild bees in Sweden, one third are threatened. They are on the red list because the agricultural landscape has become more monotonous with too few flowers. Approximately one third of the species found in Sweden today are on the red list, which means that these species are clearly decreasing in number and risk disappearing in the long term. Bumblebees make up about 40 of the species and are actually the most important, as they are active throughout the season and have long working days – even when it's drizzling.
The good news
You can make a difference in many different ways!
1. Shop organically
By buying organic food and clothing made from organically grown cotton, you help reduce the use of pesticides. The sheep and lambs whose skins we sell come from our own organic farm, which has been run organically since the late eighties and has been KRAV-labeled for a few years now.
2. Grow flowers
A rather nice way to make an environmental contribution, isn't it? If you have kids who enjoy gardening, plant some seeds today and watch them grow together! Feel free to plant plants that offer food throughout the growing season from spring to fall. Good examples are crocus, lungwort, pearl hyacinth, sage, lavender, mint, aniseed, butterfly flower and red rudbeckia. On the balcony, flowers such as lion's gape, foxglove and various herbs such as oregano, mint and thyme go well. Both bees and bumblebees thrive around fruit trees and berry bushes such as apples and currants. Flower-visiting bees are a prerequisite for there to be berries and fruit.
3. Do something for the bees
Help the bees with housing and water by building a bee hotel , seed bomb or a bee waterer - click on the links to get building tips from the Nature Conservation Society.
4. Buy Swedish honey
You can help locally by supporting beekeeping in Sweden. It takes 5 million flower visits to fill a honey jar! Give the bees a thought of gratitude when you take a dollop of honey.
5. Give a gift
Both the Nature Conservation Society and WWF work actively to save our bees.
Sources: Naturskyddsföreningen , Swedish bees , WWF , SvD .