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World Bee Day & 9 Bee Facts

Did you know that bees have a special day assigned to them; which aims to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role they play along with other pollinators in sustaining our planet's eco-systems?

After many years of international campaigning, and a proposal put forth by the Republic of Slovenia, the United Nations declared starting from 2018, May 20th would be recognised as World Bee Day.

This day was chosen in honour of the pioneer of modern beekeeping, Anton Janša, who was born in Slovenia, May 20th 1734.

Through local and national events and festivals, the global community is reminded of the threat to our lovely pollinators' declining habitats and their population caused by human activities. 

A few suggestions on how you can get involved and join the buzz:

  • Take a simple observational walk in your local country park bee spotting. Use and download the free What's That Bumblebee app at Google play to help you identify the species of bees you're seeing.
  • Plant some bee friendly plants and flowers or build/buy a solitary bee hotel.  No matter how small your gardening space is, whether you only have space for a window box, you can plant some flowers the bees will love.
  • Join your local bee club or join the many 'Bee Friendly' community projects in your area (contact your local council for more info).
  • Support one of the many great charities like Friends of the Earth who work tirelessly in helping to raise awareness of the current plight of our bees.

On this special day May 20th and everyday... let's Bee Love!

9 Bee Facts:

1.  Bees and flowering plants have a mutually beneficial relationship.  Flowers provide bees with nectar and pollen, bees help plants to reproduce by a process of pollination; they do this by the transferal of pollen on their hairs as they go from flower to flower.

2.  A bumblebee colony is much smaller than a honeybee colony.  There can be as few as 50 and often no more than 400 in a nest; compared to 20,000-60,000 honeybees in a hive. 

3.  Bees are unable to see the colour red.  Their colour vision is based on ultraviolet light, blue and green.  Studies have shown bees are most attracted to the colours purple, blue and violet. 

4.  Bumblebees use a combination of colour and spatial relationships to identify which flowers to forage from.  Some species are also known to leave their scent which can deter other bumblebees from visiting that flower until the scent has weakened.

5.  Bees use the sun as a fixed reference point to navigate.  Using the sun as a compass, bees are able to keep a track of their location and successfully find their way back, even after having travelled up to three miles away from the hive.

6.  Bees have two separate stomachs; one for eating and digesting food and another for storing nectar, which goes through a special process that converts it into honey. 

7.  On average, a bee’s wings beat 190 times per second; that’s an astounding 11,400 times a minute.  This rapidness creates vibrations in the air that humans hear as buzzing. 

8.  Bees are the only insects that produce a food ‘honey’ that can be consumed by humans.  Due to its special properties, which make it too hostile for bacterial growth, honey is the only food that never goes off. 

9.  There are over 20,000 known species of bees in the world.  Along with other pollinating insects, bees pollinate approximately 80% of wild flowering plants. 

Wooden Bee Hotel