Pollinating Our Ecosystem | Celebrating World Bee Day

Pollinating Our Ecosystem | Celebrating World Bee Day

Yes, you read that right, today is World Bee Day, and we at Thornybush are buzzing with excitement 

to celebrate one of our ecosystems’ hardest workers and biodiversity gatekeepers, the bee

Back in December 2017 the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a resolution to declare the 20th May World Bee Day, in order to create awareness of the importance of preserving honey bees and all other pollinators. So, let us take a moment to remember the significance of bees in providing for the needs of humanity, so you are more prepared to take positive action to preserve and protect our little (fierce) pollinators. Because without bees, we wouldn’t be able to call our natural world, “home”. 

The benefits of bees 

The benefits of bees cannot be underestimated, but what is it that bees contribute to our wellbeing that makes them so important? Well, first of all, and most importantly: bees sustain populations of wild plants that support most biodiversity and ecosystem functions, globally. 

Let’s explore the other incredible benefits of these busy little insects. 

Pollination

Bees are the most important group of pollinators.

They visit more than 90% of the leading 107 global crop types. Particularly here in South Africa, over 50 crops are dependent on bee pollination ensuring a reliable and diverse seed and fruit supply and produces a higher crop quality when pollinated. 

Farmers use honey bees to help improve fruit quality, size and taste through their pollination. These pollinated fruits are responsible for many of the micronutrients, including vitamins A and C, calcium, fluoride and folic acid 10 that contribute to our wellbeing too. 

Plant and tree growth 

It’s not just farm-grown fruits and vegetables that rely on these pollinators to thrive. Many species of wild plants found in and around our reserve depend on insect pollinators as well. Bees are responsible for the production of many seeds, nuts, berries, and fruit, which serve as a vital food source for our wild animals and wildlife.

Job creation

Bees aren’t the only hard workers. Without bees, and the production of honey and pollinated fruit and vegetables we would see a decline in jobs. Bees indirectly contribute to job creation and employment, both at the beekeeping and farm level. This is a huge contribution to food security and poverty alleviation. The sales of honey and other bee-related products help generate income through various avenues. Much like we at Thornybush, have a sustainable relationship with our neighbouring communities, bees’ relationships with people and vice versa is a community driven partnership which needs nurturing and protection. 

Wildlife habits and biodiversity

When bees are busy building their hives, they’re also creating habitats for millions of other insects and wildlife. Their role as pollinators is vital in the growth of forests, savannah woodlands, and temperate deciduous forests. And many tree species couldn’t grow without pollinators like bees. Bees contribute to complex, interconnected ecosystems that allow a diverse number of different species to coexist. The scary fact is, if bees disappeared, the wildlife that depend on these plants for survival would vanish as well.

5 facts about honeybees 

Did you know that the honeybee is the world’s most important species of pollinator?
So the next time you dribble that delicious honey over your morning granola, give a little thanks to these hard workers. 

  1. A bee produces a teaspoon of honey (about 5 grams) in her lifetime.
  2. To produce a kilogram of honey, bees fly the equivalent of three times around the world in air miles.
  3. The type of flower the bees take their nectar from determines the honey’s flavour.
  4. Honey has been shown to have many health benefits both when eaten and when applied to the skin. 
  5. Globally there are more honey bees than other types of bees and pollinating insects, so they truly are  the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats.

Get bee’zy and create your own at-home honey face mask. 

A honey recipe for dehydrated skin to keep you glowing during the winter months! 

Honey has incredible anti-inflammatory and deep cleansing properties. It’s a great way to put the moisture back in your face, and clean off the dust after a luxury safari experience!

Directions:

After washing your face with your favourite cleanser, apply unpasteurised, raw honey to your face. Leave the honey on your skin for several minutes before rinsing off and enjoy that bee’utiful, hydrated glow! 

Tip: Dilute your pure honey with purified water to make it less sticky and easier to remove after treatment.

Happy World Bee Day, let’s keep the bees a-buzz to continue enjoying this wonderful wild world. 

Photos by David Clode, Dmitry Grigoriev, Wolfgang Hasselmann, Shelby Cohron, Leandro Fregoni on Unsplash

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