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The Rise and Fall of Bees The Rise and Fall of Bees Who's saving the bees?

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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

Methodology

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.