Bees play a vital role in our ecosystem but due to deforestation and urbanisation, they are coming under threat and are at risk of becoming extinct if we don't take urgent action. Here are 8 must-know facts and ways to foster a bee-friendly workplace. If you're an Iconic Member these are some initiatives that we are very excited to be rolling out in 2023. If you're part of a business, you can look at implementing these tips either in the office or at home.
1. The Importance of the Native Irish Honeybee
Ireland is home to 99 species of bees. The Irish Honeybee is the only honeybee strain native to Ireland and is now scarce in most areas due to crossbreeding with other strains of honeybee and diseases from imported bees.
2. Create a bee-friendly workplace
A big threat to the native honeybee is a lack of safe habitat for them to build homes and find food sources. By planting a bee garden in your workspace or in your home, you can provide a haven for bees. Planting a bee garden in window boxes, across yards or in small plant pots can be the perfect environment to help save the Native Irish Honey Bee from extinction.
3. Plant native flowers
Bees must eat almost continuously, and a bee with a full stomach is only ever about 40 minutes from starvation, highlighting how important it is for us as a society to continue to provide food for pollinators to survive. By planting native plants and flowers, you can help to provide a food source for the bees to eat as many bees have evolved to only survive off native plants such as foxgloves, hydrangeas and poppies.
4. Don't harm them and they won't harm you
Bees aren't aggressive, contrary to belief. We should teach children (and others) to enjoy bees as they are not aggressive creatures and won’t harm you unless you harm them.
5. Create a bee bath in
Bees are thirsty workers and need to keep hydrated throughout the day. Fill a shallow bird bath or bowl with clean water, and arrange pebbles and stones inside so that they break the water’s surface. Bees can then land on the rocks and use the bee baths to take a drink throughout the day.
6. Use natural or organic fertilizer
Garden chemicals are harmful to bees, and many sold for garden use contain neonicotinoids, so it is essential to avoid using them. Instead, collect your discarded eggshells and crush them into a fine powder and they can be used as natural fertilizer instead.
7. Plant a wilding section
Wildflowers provide excellent forage for all types of bees, so allowing a ‘wilding’ section in your garden or office space where you allow weeds or wildflowers to grow can be vital for bees' survival. Why not consider providing wildflower seed packets for your employees to bring home or use in the office?
8. Protect bee nests
Many bumblebees nest in the ground or near it. Old clumps of dead grass, the leaves at the bottom of the hedge, and the compost heap all provide excellent nesting sites for bumblebees.
By following these tips, we can help protect Irish bees at home and in the workplace and ensure their survival for years to come.