Save the Bees | Sunday Observer

Save the Bees

May 20 is World Bee Day

Who thought that the humble bee would get its own day on the United Nations calendar of events? But today (May 20), the world is celebrating the first-ever World Bee Day, the first UN day dedicated to an insect.

In December last year, the UN General Assembly in New York unanimously adopted a resolution declaring 20th May as the World Bee Day.

But why May 20? May 20 is the birthday of the father of modern beekeeping and first teacher at the beekeeping school established by Maria Theresa Anton Janša (1734-1773).

Moreover, May is the month when the work of bees in the Northern Hemisphere is in full swing while in the Southern Hemisphere it is a time for the “Honey Harvest”. The Bee Day was proposed by Slovenia which has a rich tradition of beekeeping.

The main purpose of World Bee Day is to raise public awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators. Remember, bees are not all about honey, a food we love. Honey is a natural product produced by bees and stored for their own use, but we value it as a great source of nitration. Their more important function is to pollinate flowers and crops, which enables them to spread and grow.

In fact, the world as we know it will end if the bees suddenly disappear. The 20,000 bee species worldwide pollinate 70 of the around 100 crop species that feed around five billion people. If the bees are gone, we may lose all the plants that bees pollinate and all of the animals that eat those plants.

Some scientists say that people will only have a few years left to survive if the bees vanish. Albert Einstein gave humanity just four years if the bees died out. This may be an exaggeration, but eventually he will be proved right.

Bees are under threat worldwide thanks to habitat destruction, climate change, land clearing and chemical use. Bee populations, both wild and commercially-reared, have reduced worldwide. It is estimated that in the past decade, beekeepers have seen a steady decrease of their bee populations by 30 percent each year. The average beehive can include 60,000 worker bees, so a 30 percent decline would mean a loss of 18,000 bees, which is a huge quantity. There are between 80 million and 100 million domesticated hives of honeybees in the world. Each hive has perhaps between 10,000 and 60,000 bees. Now there is a worldwide movement to increase bee numbers and take them to more areas.

But what can we do to save the bees and similar pollinators ?

Like us, pollinators need food, water and shelter. So we need to grow flowers, and plenty of them. Make sure there is water available for them. It is important to provide shelter from predators, as well as places to breed. Take the time to observe what is happening in your garden and to learn more about the insects you see. They might help you to save the world and ourselves too.