Many a column inch has been devoted to the decline of the honey bee in recent years, with many organizations launching campaigns to help save this most integral and historic of species. The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), has lately launched a unique ‘Friends of the Honey Bee’ campaign – inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh.
This takes the form of an illustrated guide highlighting 10 fun, simple activities for families to do together over the summer in the great outdoors to help our honey bees. It stars Winnie-the-Pooh and friends, and contains a brand new story, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, with drawings by Mark Burgess.
The BBKA annual study surveyed 900 British beekeepers selected at random, to establish the impact that last winter has had on honey bee colonies. Nationally, colony losses were 14.5% last winter, continuing the declines observed over the last three years. The extinction of bees would have drastic consequences on the planet: Albert Einstein famously remarked that ‘mankind will not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years’.
This year’s loss rose by over 50% in comparison to last year (9.6% in 2013/14), and despite not being as high as the decline rate in 2012/13 (33.8%), the results show that our bees are still very much in danger. Poor and variable weather, changes to habitat, diseases and pests such as Varroa, plus starvation due to lack of honey stored in the hive are all thought to have contributed to the decline – underlining the importance of plenty of good nectar and pollen forage being available for honey bees, throughout the year. Although most British adults surveyed were aware that honey bees are on the decline, two-thirds had little or no idea of what they can do to help, according to research. Which is something this guide aims to change.
Commenting on the partnership, Nicole Pearson, associate publisher at Egmont Publishing said: “Winnie-the-Pooh is famed for his love of honey, so who better to encourage families to get out and about and take part in fun activities that can help support our honey bees? We’re very excited to be working with the BBKA to support such a worthwhile cause.”
For more information on supporting the honey bee and to download the ‘bee-friendly’ guide inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh and friends visit www.friendsofthehoneybee.com
Just three ways to help the honey bee:
1. Plant a window box
2. Buy local honey
3. Build a bee habitat