Something seemingly so small and insignificant is actually incredibly important and has a huge impact on our lives. With the threat of bees extinction, more people have come up with clever ideas on how to save the bees. We explain to you what you can do to help and become a beekeeper right from the backyard of your home.
So first things first. If you want to know how to save the bees, you must understand them. There are bees myths that might surprise you, and to start with, there are around 400,000 of bees species. All bees play an important role in our agricultural system – this is why understanding them is key to save them especially due to the bees colony collapse disorder. If you were to become a beekeeper just to get your jar full of honey, whereas is a very sweet act, you’d probably go wrong. So let’s dig a bit deeper into the kindness to bees with this guide that will give you the keys to become a beekeeper and all the different ways you can impact positively the bees’ ecosystem.
What can you do to help save the bees?
1. Start by learning about bees species
If you want to save the bees, learning about bees species is crucial, from their colours, shapes to their habitats.
There are plenty of resources, some key ones about bees are the books and to name a couple, the Bee-Friendly Garden and The Bees in your Backyard by bee scientist Joseph Wilson are an incredibly good way to start.
To learn more about bees, there are plenty of online resources that you check out, such as Xerces Society, a nonprofit organisation that protects the natural world through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. Another good option is the BugGuide.net, an online community of naturalists who enjoy learning about and sharing our observations of insects.
If you are the more practical kind, find and join a pollinator workshop to save the bees.
For example, Bee the change is Immeke’s educational program. This business is involved in beekeeping but not for the sweetness of honey, but for the survival of the honeybee. Immeke develops projects, teaches primary and high school students about bees and flowers, beekeeping courses and always keeps ‘honeyed talk’ inspired by the nature of the bee. Some of the fun activities include making seed bombs, drawing bees, painting hives and even build an apiary with students.
Workshops can take many forms, we recently discovered the botanical artist Shevaun Doherty who is doing an amazing job in stimulating creativity and spreading the message on causes she cares about. As you can see, there are endless ways of spreading an important mission to save the bees!
2. Plant before the flower season to save the bees
If your yard is rich in early-season flowers, you are more likely to attract bees to nest.
Bees need two things: food – as in flowers, and they need nesting sights. So in our backyard, we can make efforts to help bees by planting flowers – a variety of different kinds of flowers, different colours and shapes and sizes we can attract a different kind bunches of bees.
Make sure to not use pesticides, and neither uses plants with neonicotinoids. Herbicides and insecticides are bad for pollinators in general. Herbicides poison the food source, and insecticides kill beneficial insect (such as bees) as well as pests.
Another option is to plant food in your backyard. If you are lost with gardening there are social enterprises around offering workshops such as Blue Borage based in New Zealand (and soon releasing online courses too!), which encourages people to create more edible gardens, whether at home, school or work. We can all grow more of our own food. And while we grow food, we need to also plant flowers for the bees.
We won’t all become beekeepers, but our bees need flowers, so please add colour and joy to your garden spaces with bee-friendly flowers.
Here are some other inspiring social and eco-businesses that are determined to save the bees through community gardening:
The Crop Club. Eco food growing kits for homes and businesses
This social enterprise offers a range of eco growing kits and wildflower seed packs that we sell for homes and also to businesses as promotional giveaways. The Crop Club encourages and supports people to grow their own food in small spaces by reconnecting communities through the joy of growing food, enabling biodiversity and inspiring healthy happy lifestyles.
Aside from the wonderful eco garden kits and corporate giveaways, the brand is working to raise awareness and education we reconnect people with nature and the value of food.
Seedball, refilling the world with pollinators
This award-winning brand is making it simpler to grow wildflowers from seed. Seedball is committed to trying to reverse the 97% loss of wildflower habitats in the UK and help pollinators and other species thrive once more.
How does it work? Well, you choose which wildflowers would you like to grow. You scatter onto the garden bed or in a pot and wait to germinate inside the ball till they begin to sprout. Once plants are established, bees go yay!
The packaging is a recyclable and reusable tin, and the manufacturing of the Seedballs is made right in their workshop in London.
3. Provide habitat to save the bees
There are many ways in which you can provide nesting for bees.
A bee hotel is a perfect nest environment for solitary bees. As mentioned, flowers will attract the bees but between plant and plant, you can leave bare patches of dirt for the ground-nesting bees to nest in.
Another good idea is to drill a bunch of holes in a piece of wood. Leafcutter bees and their relatives find these holes and they make their nests in them.
If you don’t happen to have a tree in your backyard, there are bees bricks that you can purchase that will make up for the habitat of cavity-nesting solitary bees. Green&Blue is an award-winning brand and certified BCorp that is determined to change the conversation around sustainable housing. The products are designed as nesting, resting and feeding places not just to save the bees but also for the birds.
Another incredibly good option is Flow ™ Hive. This brand and its invention is literally honey on tap directly from your beehive! Father and son, Stuart and Cedar Anderson, passionate about beekeeping, bees and honey, launched in 2015 a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign. Flow Hive took the beekeeping world by storm with a “honey on tap” honey-harvesting system designed to be easier on the bees and the beekeeper. Now being used in more than 130 countries, the brand is a prominent advocate for pollinators and for strengthening humanity’s connection with the natural world. This technology has been recognised with multiple awards and also a BCorp certification.
To learn more about the exciting world of beekeeping here is a pretty comprehensive guide on all the different techniques to provide a habitat for bees.
4. Choose brands that are on a mission to save the bees
When it comes to brands working towards this mission to save the bees, even though may have good intentions and donate to an organisation for the cause, they could be creating products that are doing harm to the environment on the other end. A common example we have found are T-Shirts, for which many are not produced with organic cotton and much less under fair trade conditions. What is the point of donating a 10% of the profits to an organisation if we are using cotton that is harvested with the use of chemicals (one of the major causes of bees colony collapse disorder!)???
This is why we have carefully selected a range of brands that truly stand for the protection of bees, either using natural raw materials sourced from bees or sustainable products that give back in some way to protect and save the bees. And of course, businesses that were completely born with the aim and sole purpose of getting bees’ population thriving! Let’s start here:
Saviour Bees. Small acts of sweet kindness
This invention is a huge inspiration for those who want to become Bee Saviour citizens with small sweets of kindness towards bees.
This brand is taking the mission to save the bees to the streets by providing a small sugar solution that we can carry in our wallet.
Save one bee at a time: when you find an exhausted bee on the street you can help her to revive with a tiny drop of sugar solution.
“We create moments of connection to nature can have a pretty transformative effect on us, humans, too.” Saviour Bees
All of the Saviour Bees cards are handmade out of ‘store cards’ destined for landfill that this brand is repurposing for sweets acts of kindness.
Oker & Mos, a bee inspired blanket collection for babies
This brand has designed a bees inspired collection of wraps and blankets designed for babies and toddlers. The print is made with real honeycomb, which is the cluster of hexagonal beeswax cells that fill the interior of a honey bee beehive. With the print, Oker & Mos wants to create more awareness about how important the honeybee is for our existence.
All clothes are made of organic cotton and muslin fabric, which is a super soft and breathable fabric that is very nice for your child’s skin. It’s OKOE-TEX 100 certified and protects the skin against allergies and irritations and contains no harmful substances.
Nina’s Bees, a beekeeper creating botanical balms & soaps
Nina is a beekeeper based in the beautiful Blue Mountains NSW. She grows her apiary by collecting unwanted swarms from public spaces.
With beeswax, honey, organic oils and herbs she creates all natural botanical balms and soaps. Nina’s Bees products are lovingly handcrafted in small batches, using only the finest organic and cold pressed oils and their own beeswax. The brand is committed to organic beekeeping and leaving as little footprint on the environment as possible. As you could expect, all the products are packaged into plastic-free recyclable or made of recycled materials.
Bee Chi organic beauty potions, from bees to plants
Bee Chi Organics only ambition is to share the knowledge of nature and the power of plants in the form of organic beauty and wellness potions. In this apothecary, bees and flowers go hand in hand; they are guilty of flower pollination and reproduction of their ingredients, as well as that miracle “Chi” energy that gives added health benefits. The products have a deeply holistic approach and that “beachy element” covering the whole range: herbal hair care, oral hygiene, facial + beauty care, body + bath wellness, home goods and natural cosmetics (and of course all sustainably packaged!)
Me & the Bees, social good lemonade that gives back to bees
Me & the Bees was founded by a Tween entrepreneur Mikaila in Austin, Me & the Bees is a lemonade crafted and sweetened with local honey. The recipe was Inspired by her great granny Helen’s when she was only 4 years old!
This social good lemonade company produces a premium bottled lemonade with honey & flaxseed. Buy a bottle… Save a bee!
Bees Wrap, a natural alternative to food storage
Because good food deserves good care, this brand is providing a washable, reusable and compostable alternative to the plastic film wrap.
Bee’s Wrap is fabric infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. Made sustainably in Vermint, US, has recently earned a B Corp certification.
You are probably aware that there is been a huge rise of bees wax brands to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle in the past couple of years. If you want to access a larger range we recommend you to pop-up to Biome store and find a large collection of bees wrap brands 😉
Bee the cure, buzzing awareness on pollinators
Bee the Cure is an Australian organisation that is on a mission to educate people about the plight of the precious pollinators, both indigenous and introduced.
Aside from the different initiatives, workshops and campaigns, they also have a shop in which you can find a range of products that contribute to saving the bees.
For example, you can find a bees hive for the home with five frames with a natural wax foundation with a capacity of 2,500 working bees.
For those who enjoy the surfing in the incredible beaches in OZ, you’ll love the natural zinc made for the face, lips and nose protection it is great for all skin types and ages. The ingredients, of course, chemical free, using beeswax beads and other organic ingredients such as coconut and olive oil, cacao powder and butter.
The Heritage Bee, beehive hosting making beekeeping possible for everyone
Heritage Bee is offering a beekeeping solution for everyone as this brand is a beehive host that creates a corridor of natural, chemical free hives, in turn helping the bee population.
This BCorp practices organic management of the bees without the use of synthetic chemicals or antibiotics. Part of being a hive host is the possibility to learn, observe and co-exist with these little furry insects.
It is incredibly convenient because all of the delivery, set up, installation, maintenance, inspections, extractions, and packaging are taken care of by the Heritage Bee. Some other benefits of hive hosting are that you get a 15% of the annual honey yield (which translates into 12 jars of honey each year) and you can personalise the labels with your name.
Within their range of products, you will find raw and unpasteurized honey, natural hand salve, beeswax candles and swarm rescues.
Alvéole, connecting people to nature in cities through urban rooftop beekeeping
As just mentioned earlier, whether it’s to learn beekeeping, to favour pollination or to produce honey, there are countless benefits to having a hive! And Alvéole helps people and organizations install and care for urban honeybee colonies in the city. How does this work? Well, first you have to find an ideal location. Then the team of Alvéole will teach the key steps to care for your colony of bees. Finally, harvesting the honey from your hive so you can taste the subtleties of the flowers in your neighbourhood.
This BCorp certified company enables the best packages for homes and individuals, businesses or even schools!
Seed Paper Supply. Handmade Recycled Paper with Seeds embedded
If you are a business, stand out from the crowd and show your commitment to the environment with plantable, zero-waste packaging. Seed Paper Supply packaging is plantable, and the seed paper boxes are designed for planting after use so your packaging replenishes the earth.
Each box produces beautiful wildflowers and herbs and is made with non-invasive seeds. Grow your business with innovative, earth-friendly packaging.
Coromandel Coast. Because sustainably grown coffee also contributes to bees habitats.
Coromandel Coast is a coffee brand. You would now ask how is coffee aligned with bees? Well, much more than we are really aware of! This particular brand of shade-grown coffee is harvested in an agroforestry landscape and there’s ample evidence to prove that native bee communities thrive in tropical habitats with greater tree species richness and canopy cover. Coromandel Coast, in fact, is making so much good impact, and not just because is sustainably grown, but also because it’s fair trade – so respects human dignity & integrity.
La Juniper. An eco-gift shop with a floral & botanical range that gives back to bees.
La Juniper is an ethical and eco-conscious gift shop. In there you will find wildflower seeds, that you can plant in the garden to invite bees to come. From any of their florals and botanical range, they donate a 10% of the benefits to Bumblebee Conservation Trust (which you will also find in our list of foundations).
5. Purchase organic and sustainably produced and sourced honey
Your passion for honey makes you want to save the bees? Then you will have to read carefully the label my friend.
When you purchase honey you would choose brands that ensure that artisanal beekeepers and small sustainable farmers receive a premium price for a premium product. Like all agricultural products, honey is often produced by overworked and underpaid workers. Look for Fairtrade to ensure that the person who produced your honey is given a fair price.
Another important aspect when you are choosing your honey is that you consider those brands that source honey from wild – uncultivated land – or organic floral sources only.
Choosing organic ensures that no pesticides have been used, which are partially responsible for the bees population decline. Another important aspect is how the honey is been produced because ultimately this will affect your health. In the infographic below you will find a comparative on the impact of commercial honey vs. raw honey could have on your health.
Finally, you should look into the packaging. As you know plastic is no longer a good choice if we want to go sustainable, this is why we would pick those using glass containers – as you know you can always upcycle or repurpose the jars.
Very important, as the Ethical consumer shopping guide recommends, is to avoid an excess of consumption of honey, and most importantly mass produced or factory farmed brands. In this guide you find 22 good brands of honey with the score related to the standards just mentioned.
This is our handpick of brands that stand out for us, for its genuine mission to save the bees:
Al-Ameen Royal Honey 100% Pure, Natural Organic Raw
Al-Ameen premium honey is produced from remote forests and mountainous regions around the world, such as the Carpathian mountains in Transylvania.
This honey brand sources directly from beekeepers working to the highest ethical standards, and fully meet all conditions and regulations as established by the European Union for the organic farming sector.
This organic and raw honey is renowned for its 100% purity and exquisite taste.
East Van Bees. From the Hive to You
This small business is sourcing the honey from urban and local neighbourhoods in Vancouver in small batches. The honey is raw, cold extracted and chemical free. In their shop on Etsy, you will find also some beeswax food wraps, and beautiful gift boxes with their range of infused moisturizing beeswax salve, 100% beeswax candles, and beeswax honey lip balms. It’s deliciously handmade, from hive to you!
Beekeeper’s Naturals, a boost of your health with superfood
Beekeeper’s Naturals is a certified BCorp that is bringing innovative wellness grounded in a bee-driven cause. The brand is obsessed with crafting sustainable, effective, natural health solutions using hive superfoods. Most importantly, they are on a mission to raise awareness and safeguard the future of the bees!
The BKN method is to hand harvesting and invest in a team of scientists for you to get lifted with truly natural health-boosting solutions straight from the hive. In their range, you will find the propolis spray, a great source of antioxidants on the go… and of course their B Powered and B Chill honey (this last one containing hemp extract!)
Get a 10% discount on any product of the Beekeeper’s Natural range using the Code “OURGOODBRANDS”
Bee Raw honey, wild floral indulgence
Bee Raw Honey offers raw, unfiltered, single varietal regional honey supplied by American family-owned apiaries dedicated to the meticulous bee husbandry that is required to produce distinctive kinds of honey from a single flower source. Currently, this brand offers 11 varietals coming from wild floral sources.
Bee Raw thrives on the belief that small indulgences should be enjoyed daily, while also being good for you and the planet. This is exactly what is all about, isn’t?!
6. Join a conservation campaign to save the bees
Let people know how strongly you feel about protecting bees and their habitats. Words spread and cross-pollinate to others that may not be aware of the importance of bees and neither about the bees Colony Collapse Disorder.
There are many organisations and nonprofits that you may want to look into to find out about bees conservation campaigns. With them you will be able to support the mission of saving bees by signing petitions, donating, getting involved in the community and educational programs or even purchasing products of their shop.
Here is a list with a few organisations that are working towards the preservation of our bees (and for sure more to explore):
Do you feel there is an important organisation or good brand that we missed? Please comment below and share it with us all so we can include it in this extensive guide to save the bees!