COLUMN: Feel the Buzz! to help save Derbyshire's endangered bees
With 20 of our bee species now extinct it's pretty clear that our bees are in trouble.
We now know bees are more important to our wellbeing than many people realised – they play a key role in our food production, and their absence can indicate underlying issues within our environment.
The decline of bees is due to several factors - changes in farming practice, the loss of wildflower meadows and the use of insecticides. However, this decline affects us as human beings too, because bees have a key role in the production of the food we eat, by pollinating of many of our fruits and vegetables. Any decline in our bees will have an impact on the availability of food, and therefore the cost of food, which will affect our economy.
Bees also help to pollinate many wildflowers, and these flowers help to sustain the bees as they forage for nectar. A foraging bee is only 40 minutes from starvation! Without bees many of these plants would not produce seeds, resulting in the further decline of wildflowers, and reducing bee numbers - a vicious circle. All of our wildlife will suffer too, as these plants are the basis of complex food chains supporting insects, birds and mammals.
We really wanted to do something practical to help our bees, so we came up with Feel the Buzz! a campaign designed to help everyone bee pro-active in a very hands-on way. Thanks to sponsorship from Weleda (UK) in Ilkeston we were able to create Buzz Boxes, an innovative way to get your hands on loads of information about the practical steps you can take to help bees including bee activities for all ages, a fantastic bee board game, a wildflower Eye-Spy book and ways to raise money for our bee appeal – plus a packet of wildflower seeds so everyone can create their own mini-meadow to provide flowers and food for the bees!
For a donation of just £10 per box it’s a really easy way to get your school, company or family buzzing; for example, Accrofab UK in Derby bought 30 boxes for their local schools and all the money raised will be directly spent on helping our bees.
For more see www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/feelthebuzz