Simply put, bees play a vital role in the lifecycle of most plants and flowers. Without bees, these plants would simply have no way to reproduce. In fact, bees are responsible for pollinating nearly 85% of all food crops for humans, as well as livestock. Without bees, it’s arguable that humans would not even be alive today.
In addition to pollination, bees also provide us with byproducts that are very useful. Bees wax (from the honeycomb) has been used to make candles for centuries (since around the 6th century). This wax is also found in beauty products, lip balm and chewing gum. Honey produced by bees is the healthiest sweetener on the planet and even has anti-bacterial properties!
Unfortunately, bee populations have been under attack from environmental and human factors. These factors have attacked the bees directly (as is the case with pesticides) and indirectly (due to destruction of their environment and/or food supply). The fragile nature of the bee population is indicative of the fragile nature of the environment as a whole. But what can we do for the bees at the personal level (as most of us are not in the position to change others but we can change ourselves)?
Some ecologists like Jane Memmott (Bristol University) recommend that we start embracing weeds. In particular, dandelions. As is turns out bee’s love dandelions. However, the majority often end up being pulled up or mowed over. This leads to a desperate food shortage for many bee populations and in some cases elimination of the colony entirely. Instead, especially during the spring season, embrace the weeds in your garden. Don’t rush to mow them over or pull them up. The bees will thank you and so will the environment!