What's The Bee Cause?
The Bee Cause is a campaign that highlights the incredible importance of bees, and is pushing for action to help bees and their habitat. You can find out more about The Bee Cause here.
Why are we concerned about bees?
Bees in the UK - and elsewhere - face many threats, from habitat loss, to building projects, disease, pesticides, farming practices, pollution, invasive non-native plant and animal species, and climate change.
Ultimately, we need bees more than they need us: Friends of the Earth have calculated that it would cost £1.8 billion for UK farmers to pollinate their crops without bees! In Hackney and Tower Hamlets we've been raising awareness about the plight that bees face, pushing for a Bee Action Plan and action on pesticides that will start to reverse bee declines in the UK, and helping people to help bees locally.
What are we doing?
People are really concerned about bees! We've been amazing and heartened by how much people care about bees, when we've been out doing stalls and actions. We've asked people where they see bees and where they know of good habitat, we've taken them on Bee Walks, organised Bee Counts and we've gotten people to take political action by signing petitions.
Bee Action Plan and pesticides
The fantastic news is that because of the Bee Cause (which started back in 2013), the Bee Action Plan has become a reality! The Government have developed a 'National Pollinator Strategy', and we're now helping to keep the pressure up on that, to make sure it's a strong, well-funded and well-implemented plan.
We're also pushing for the government to ban some of the most harmful pesticides - neonicotinoids. The European Commission has banned them, but only temporarily. We need to keep putting pressure on the Government to put a permanent ban on 'neonics', because there's compelling evidence that they harm bees and other wildlife, because new evidence shows that bees are being more exposed to them than we thoughts, because there's a lack of evidence that they help farmers, and because there are other ways of controlling pests. Read Friends of the Earth's blog here.
Helping people help bees
There are lots of things you can do to help bees!
- Help bees find food by planting some bee-friendly flowers. You can plant flowers in your garden, in a window box, or just a pot on a window will or balcony. Try to choose native species like:
- flowering herbs like marjoram, chives, sage and thyme
- low growers like crocus, bluebell, snowdrop and nasturtium
- Bushy plants like hyssop, hebe, rosemary and lavender
- Easy edibles like strawberries, tomatoes and beans
- Attractive ornamentals like achillea, allium, angelica, echinacea, foxglove and verbena
- Build a bee a home. There are more than 200 species of solitary bee in the UK that need individual nests. Some species tunnel into the ground, sandy banks or crumbling mortar. Others use hollow stems or holes in wood. You can make substitute homes by providing a bundle of hollow plant stems. See here for a handy guide.
- Support our campaigning on bees: at the moment, we're preparing for a Bee Count - join us! You can find out more about Friends of the Earth's work on bees here.
- Help bees by buying bee products like honey; hopefully you can find honey produced near you.
- Find out more about bees locally: