Bee Sustainable

Bee Sustainable!

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Starting this summer, Ecomatters is handing out packets of bee-friendly flower seeds. Do you want to know why? Or what in a bee’s name to do with them? Keep reading!

What is a bee?

Bees are flying insects inhabiting ecosystems in all corners of the world, with the exception of Antarctica. Within the bee family, a distinction can be made between wild bees, bumblebees and – best-known for obvious reasons – the honeybee. The collective bee family counts over 20,000 species, 349 of which are found in the Netherlands and Belgium. All bees are true vegetarians and live of solely nectar (as a source of energy) and pollen (as a source of protein and vitamin) throughout their life cycle.

Bees play an important role in pollinating flowering plants and are the major type of pollinator in ecosystems that contain flowering plants. It is estimated that one third of the human food supply depends on pollination by insects, birds and bats, most of which is accomplished by bees, especially the domesticated European honey bee.

Bees overview

What is happening to bees?

Bee mortality (manifested as Colony Collaps Disorder, CCD) is the result of a complex combination of factors. Widespread monotonic agriculture leads to a loss of biodiversity, which in turn leads to a shortage of pollen and hence bee malnutrition. In combination with the extensive use of pesticides, this renders the bees more vulnerable to the various viral diseases transmitted by parasites, such as the Varroa mite. As a result, as much as 60% of all worldwide bee species are threatened in their survival.

What can you do?

Honeybees and bumblebees can forage from multiple types of plants and are therefore less dependent on a particular biotope than wild bees are. They can also travel greater distances; their action radius may be up to 3 kilometers from the colony. However, it is important for all bee species to be able to do plenty of pit stops on nectar and pollen-rich flowers. By planting the Ecomatters bee-friendly flower seeds in your garden or neighbourhood, you improve the food supply so vital to bees! This special mixture of seeds contains the summer flowers larkspur, marigold, cornflower, poppy flower, cosmea, coneflower, moonbeam, evening primrose, East Indian cherry, red and blue flax and zinnia.

Follow these steps for the most colourful result:

  1. Plant the seeds in spring (April – June)
  2. Pick a sunny spot outdoors (even a simple flowerpot will do)
  3. Make sure the little sprouts will have plenty of space: do some weeding if necessary
  4. Prepare the soil by turning it over a couple of times
  5. Plant the seeds and cover them with ~0.5 cm of soil
  6. Depending on the weather, water them once in a while
  7. Enjoy!

Are you out of Ecomatters bee-friendly flower seeds? Or do you want to do more? Check the Perfect for Pollinators plant list (https://www NULL.rhs NULL.org NULL.uk/science/conservation-biodiversity/wildlife/encourage-wildlife-to-your-garden/plants-for-pollinators), establised by British Royal Horticultural Society and get your garden buzzing!