We love our bees here at Eco Food Wrap and we consider these miraculous creatures a vital part of our family here at EFW HQ as well as a part of our property’s ecosystem. Bees aren’t just about wax and honey, and their role in nature becomes most apparent in the warmer months. First thing we notice having bees is that everything in our garden and bush backyard is pollenated. Our natives are thriving, produce flowers are turning to fruit- Our passionfruit vine, especially, is bulging with fruit.
Everything is flowering and part of the process that makes for a healthy, functioning, bush ecosystem. The crops are pollinated, which then fruit (and which we get to harvest to feed our own family), seeds then fall to the ground and these seeds sprout again, meaning more produce and plants and a healthy, continuing ecological cycle. Bees help nature continue the cycle WHILST feeding- IN FACT they are the only creature that is able to feed whilst contributing to the health of our ecosystem (as opposed to other animals, whose feeding cycle is destructive to the ecosystem rather than beneficial).
One of the most alarming news stories this decade has been the mysterious disappearance of bees. 30-90% of bees in some areas of the US have gone missing leaving farmers and scientists baffled as to what is happening.70% of food world crops would decline or disappear without our pollinator friends, and it would take only a short time for the world population to face a global food crisis. While we don’t need bees to pollinate every single crop, here is just a brief list of some of the foods that we would lose as a result of bee population decline and disappearance:
Apples Mangos Kiwi Fruit Plums
Peaches Nectarines Guava Rose Hips
Pomegranates Pears Okra Strawberries
Onions Cashews Apricots Avocados
Passion Fruit Orchid Plants Cherries Celery
Coffee Walnut Cotton Flax
Macadamia Sunflower Oil Lemons Buckwheat
Figs Fennel Limes Carrots
Persimmons Cucumber Hazelnut Coriander
Caraway Chestnut Watermelon Coconut
Tangerines Boysenberries Starfruit Brazil Nuts
Beetroot Mustard Seed Broccoli Cauliflower
Cabbage Brussels Sprouts Bok Choy Turnips
Chilli/Capsicum Papaya Sesame Eggplant
Raspberries Elderberries Blackberries Tamarind
Cocoa Vanilla Cranberries Tomatoes
Grapes & Lychees Kidney, Adzuki, Goa, Green & Lima Beans
Custard Apples & Prickly pears
Neonicatanoids is a group of chemicals found in many products but largely from pesticides and insecticides and have been found to be the main culprit: bees exposed to this chemical will abandon their hives and lead to what is known as Colony Collapse Disorder, and along with poisoning from trace chemicals found in crops and produce, bee populations are on the decline particularly overseas where use of these chemicals is prolific (Though here in Australia, we have one of the healthiest populations in the world!).
Home gardeners can take steps to support our bee friends. Go organic with the fruit and vegetables that you do buy so that you know you’re not supporting the release of more of these harmful chemicals as pesticides are the main concern to both ours and the bees’ natural environment. Asters, coneflower, bee bomb and lavender will draw bees in and most bees will make themselves a small hive if pollination sources are plentiful.
You can even give bees a place to stay or start your own colony. You can source smaller kits so that you have your own pollinators or meet with local amateur beekeeping associations and dive head first into a full hive system- just be sure to use bee-friendly hive systems and avoid smokers- Don that suit to protect yourself and let them do their own thing!
Even as a small amateur beekeeper- your little bees are having a major contribution to your local ecosystem and environment. With summer coming its important to make sure there’s plenty of water- Aussie summers get very hot and we don’t ant the little guys suffering. Always Check for hive beetles and other nasties. We have included a couple of tips for Spring Cleaning your hives ethically for those of you that keep bees at home.
Try using natural diatomaceous earth to control hive beetles (rather than chemical eradication methods). Diatomaceous earth, also referred to as DE or diatomite is a naturally occurring, soft siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine-to-off-white powder. It can be harmful to any insect with an exoskeleton but bees have a natural defence system in the tiny hairs they have all over their bodies. Still, it is important to look up proper application methods and know when and where to use it. Utilised correctly, it actually really helps bees by keeping their habitat and pollinating environment free of other invaders. Alternatively you can look into some other natural methods for controlling hive invaders such as the methods listed in this great article from the milkwood permaculture blog
Look after your bees and they will look after you, helping the plant life in your environment to thrive, produce to grow and your ecosystem remaining healthy and vibrant!
Speaking of keeping your ecosystem healthy- we have another great special launching today for this week’s Eco Food Wrap Advent Calendar! In the spirit of replenishing our natural environment and giving something back to our bees, we have a new bonus for you!
Simply use the Coupon Code ECOADVENT2 to receive a FREE seedling pack with any online order. This is especially great for those with little ones. One of our favourite things to do is plant new seedlings and care for them with our kids, giving us an opportunity to educate them on the cycles of nature and why produce and plants are so important. It’s also a great way to recycle old Eco Food Wraps- you can use those or toilet paper rolls to protect your seedlings and make them easier to transport as well. The seed pack bonus runs until next week, when we announce our new Advent Calendar special on Friday, so if you’re keen for the seedlings get your order in soon!
It’s also a great opportunity to stock up on wraps for your Holiday gifts. If you’re stuck for a present for that sustainable-living, foodie friend of yours Eco Food Wraps make great gifts, and why not go the extra mile. Buying one of our cheese packs? Pair it with some Camembert, Brie, Quince Paste, crackers, a cheese board and a knife (and wrap it all in an extra large wrap instead of gift wrap for good measure!). Or, you could gift a basket of fresh produce and the wraps to store them in once they are cut for food- keeping them fresher for longer the sustainable way!
We’d love to see the ideas you come up with when gifting Eco Food Wrap- be sure to share with us on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #ecofoodwrap or #theoriginalecofoodwrap so we can share your creative ways to make it a Green Christmas in 2017!