Our goal is to encourage environmentally friendly behaviour and to inspire local communities to take action to improve the living conditions of wild bees. Through our cooperation programme we wish to increase social awareness, emphasising the crucial role of bees in our ecosystem.
WHAT IS THIS PROGRAMME ABOUT?
Together with the University of Life Sciences in Lublin we provide protection to red mason bees, a wild bee species. We agreed to provide direct assistance in creating safe places for these insects to live in. In order to do so, we founded special hotels for bees, which are filled in with cane tubes to provide the insects with shelter. As part of the first stage of our cooperation, we set up such bee houses in green areas next to Królowa Jadwiga Primary School No. 21, H. Sienkiewicz Primary School No. 38, The Orląt Lwowskich General Education School Complex No. 4, The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Secondary School of General Education No. 5, and K. Gałczyński Primary School No. 42. Bee hotels are also located on the premises of our new candy factory in the Special Economic Zone in Lublin, where all our employees look after bee houses together. We realise how important it is to educate young people and to encourage them to develop proper behaviour, so our programme also organises educational workshops. During such meetings, PhD students from the University of Life Sciences in Lublin explain to children why bees and what they do are crucial for humans and the environment. Due to the nature of the lessons, children can actively participate in these meetings. In addition, young people can learn how they can create their own hotels for wild bees at home.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
The numbers of bees, including wild bees, is dropping every year. The insects are dying out due to the increased use of chemicals in farming, the destruction of their habitats, climate change, and diseases. Greenpeace reports that as many as 30% of food eaten by humans requires pollination by insects. In Europe alone as many as 4,000 vegetable varieties rely on pollinators. It is thanks to bees that we can enjoy the taste of tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as apples, pears, plums, cherries, and many other fruits. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more difficult for wild bees to find safe spaces in cities. Their habitats and hiding places are being destroyed by humans (e.g., through grass mowing, raking, and cleaning up rotten wood). Therefore, it is important to create places where wild bees can safely live.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WILD BEES?
Wild bees are usually solitary species. Their stings are shrunk and they are gentle creatures which do not pose a threat to anyone who happens to be near their habitats. The most popular places where you can find them are empty cane tubes (red mason bees), holes dug in the ground (plasterer bees), vertical walls of clay houses, and ravines (Anthophora bees). Wild bees do not produce honey, but they are often more efficient pollinators than honey bees. Compared to the latter, wild bees are smaller and less picky. As a result, they can collect nectar from smaller flowers, which might be inaccessible to honey bees. The red mason bee is named after the activities it performs to build its nest. These bees build their nests in empty cane stems. The red mason bee is one of the most common spring flying bee species. It flies from early April to late June. Its food source are approx. 150 plant species, including cultivated plants. These include all fruit trees, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Red mason bees are, therefore, happy to live near gardens and orchards.
Differences between social bees and solitary bees
|SOCIAL BEES – HONEY BEE||SOLITARY BEES – RED MASON BEE|
|They live as an inseparable family divided into social castes, with worker bees controlled by a single mother||Each bee lives an independent, solitary life|
|Stings||Does not sting|
|Defend their territory||Do not have their own territory, are not aggressive towards intruders|
|Kept by professionals – beekeepers||Anyone can keep them (fruit-growers, hobbyists, allotment gardeners)|
YOU, TOO, CAN HELP!
Anyone can actively contribute to saving wild bees. You just need to:
- make sure that there are nectarous/honey-yielding plants, such as
- blue tansy,
- true lavender,
- common daisy,
- garden sage.
- Set apart half-wild green nooks and do not destroy natural habitats of pollinators by too-frequent grass mowing or always leaving a small, secluded part unmowed.
- Establish your own settlements for wild pollinators by creating and setting up hotels for bees,
- Use natural fertilizer,
- Refrain from grass burning