The Bees Population Graph (2020)
Which countries are creating a hive of activity with their beekeeping efforts?
Bees are vital to the survival of our ecosystem, pollinating our crops, flowers and up to a third of all the food we eat. It has been well documented that the number of wild bees has been on the decline in recent years, so what efforts are being made globally to increase the numbers?
We’ve analysed United Nations data to show which countries have seen the largest increases in bee populations thanks to their beekeeping efforts, and explored what we can do a little closer to home to help the bees.
Which countries have seen the biggest change in bee numbers in the past years?
The table below shows the populations of bees in countries around the world according to the number of beehives. You can scroll through to find out which countries have seen the biggest change in bee population numbers from 2007 to 2017, the latest data available.
Use the filters to sort the countries by A to Z and the data high to low for the years and percentage change.
The data shows that Uzbekistan has seen the most dramatic increase in beehive numbers, thanks to a drive in beekeeping in this country.
Use the dropdown to sort the data a-z by country and high to low for the percent change.
How has the global number of bees changed over time?
The line graph below shows how the number of bees has changed over the past 50 years, according to beehive numbers - not the number of individual bees. We can see that beekeeping has had a positive impact over the course of time, despite the decrease in the number of wild bees. This shows that globally, we’re not only recognising that bees and pollinators are a vital part of our ecosystems but we’re starting to cultivate beehives in order to stabilise bee decline.
Which continents are leading the way in helping bee numbers thrive?
The world map shows which continents have seen the biggest increase and decreases in beehive populations, with Asia leading the way with a surprising 296% increase in beehives over the past 50 years.
What would the world look like without bees?
We're all guilty of looking out of our windows, seeing the green grass and flowers of spring and taking everything for granted, but have you ever thought of a world where these things weren’t there? Take a look at the image below to see what the world could look like if bees did not exist. Use the slider to change the image.
John Hackett, Managing Director at Arena Flowers, gives his five top tips on what you can do to save the bees...
Mow your lawn less often
We all like to have a pristine garden, but cutting the grass less often gives bees and other pollinators shelter amongst the grass, and a place to feed. So consider giving your mower a break, and letting your grass grow that bit longer.
Plant a mix of bee-friendly seeds, plants and veg
Bees need a variety of different plants for food: from hedges and shrubs, to bulbs, herbs and vegetables. The greater variety of plant life you have in your garden, the greater variety of insects and birds your garden will be able to support. Don’t forget that bees enjoy ‘weeds’ such as dandelions, nettles and buttercups, which are really wild flowers, so leave a corner of your garden to grow wild.
Use bee-friendly pesticides
One of the easiest ways to help the bees is to stop using bee-harming pesticides and herbicides. Look for the least toxic options you can find, and try and avoid highly toxic chemicals such as rotenone, sabadilla and spinosad.
Make a bee nest
Queen bumblebees seek out places to hibernate in the winter before emerging in the early spring to create a nest. Bumblebees love to make their homes in old teapots; bury the pot, with a few dry leaves in it, just below the surface with the spout sticking out above the ground and you will make a bumblebee queen very happy.
Help a tired bee out
As a last resort, you can help revive a tired bee by feeding it a simple cocktail of white granulated sugar and water on a teaspoon. Only help a bee if it has collapsed or is struggling, and please don’t leave the source of sugar water out for a long period of time - this is the equivalent of feeding the bees junk food and may tempt the bees away from the hive. Do not be tempted to offer honey as the honey may be imported and not suitable for British bees.
We used data from the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations on the number of beehives in countries around the world from 1961 to 2017, to show which countries have the highest bee populations, according to the number of beehives, and how this has changed over 50 years. All data can be found here.