We are a vegetarian household, but are not vegan, however we still like to say “thank you to the bees” when we eat any honey. But these busy, buzzing insects do more than just make honey, and are responsible for pollinating a large percentage of the world’s crops and wild flowers.
It was a real pleasure to be asked by Taylors Teas of Harrogate to help spread the word about how much bees actually do, and what we can do to support them.
What I didn’t realise was that bees help create a world of flavour. Apparently, animal pollinators (like bees) make tastier fruit, which is obviously very important when making fruit tea.
With the assistance of the plant experts at Kew Gardens, Taylors Teas have created a range of wonderful fruit and herbal teas for you to enjoy.
I don’t drink coffee or black tea as my body doesn’t seem to like the caffeine anymore, so herbal teas are much loved in this household. Peppermint Leaf has always been a firm favourite, which I often add a drop of honey to – double thanks to the bees.
Most of us will be aware that all varieties of bees are dwindling. Since the 1930s Britain has seen a decline in its wild flower meadows as farming has increased significantly. Plus urban areas have expanded, decreasing natural wildlife habitats. Both of these factors are thought to have contributed to the reduced number of bees.
Remarkably though, studies have shown that bees can thrive in an urban environment. Maybe it is simply that they are adapting because they have to, but both Bristol, and Northampton university found there to be just as many bees (and in fact more species of bees) in an urban area compared to a rural one.
Just like with the butterflies it is important that we do our bit to support local biodiversity. We can make sure we plant pollinator friendly flowers, and that the bees have a place to nest.
This wooden bee house is easy to put in your garden or outside space, and it provides a perfect place for the bees to rest and hibernate. They are not designed for honey bees or bumble bees which live socially, but for other varieties of solitary bees, because they make individual nests.
It’s important to realise that your bee home could be inhabited for about 11 months of the year. You need to position it in full sun, facing South, or South East, and make sure there is nothing blocking the little holes at the front, as this is how the bees get in. Finally make sure it is at least one metre of the ground and fixed firmly.
Taylors of Harrogate have gone one step further and made a Grand Hotel for the bees to relax their wings in. You can watch a little video here of this remarkable creation. Plus there is a competition where you can win a trip to Kew Gardens, including train travel, entry, and lunch at the Orangery restaurant. Find out more and how to enter here.
This post is in collaboration with Taylors Tea but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting the posts that make this blog space possible.