Most people seem to be aware that there is a problem with our bee population but perhaps not aware of the disastrous effects it could have on us.
Last winter the UK lost a fifth of it's bee colonies which is an unusually high number. Colony collapse disorder, as it's become known, is when bees desert their colonies for no apparent reason, and it is not just the UK that has been affected - it is happening all over the world. The future of the honeybee is in grave danger, and considering that one third of what we eat is pollinated by them, so is ours.
The honeybee and man have a long history together dating back at least 10,000 years. Not only to they play a vital role in the growth of crops, their sweet honey has been used for centuries and not just for it's flavour. The Ancient Egyptians used it for embalming and the Romans used it as a currency, it has huge significance in many religions and has long been renowned for it's medicinal purposes. Propolis, a substance bees collect from plants to use in their hives is also becoming well known for it's beneficial effects on our health. Beeswax is a regular ingredient in many skincare products because of it's soothing and softening properies, and it's ability to help the skin retain moisture.
Lots of research is being done to understand the plight of the honeybee and hopefully find ways to help it. There are a few theories as to why they are disappearing, one of them is the use of pesticides, evidence of which has been found in nectar and beeswax. The Soil Association are campaigning to get neonicotinoid pesticides banned, click here to read more and sign their petition.
The Vanishing of the Bees is a new film to help raise awareness of this worrying situation. They also have a petition you can sign and more ideas on how to help.
What else can we do? Where possible choose organic food and skincare products that use organic beeswax. Non-organic beekeepers can use chemicals and antibiotics to treat their bees, some will even kill the colonies to remove the honey. Purity Organic Skincare use organic beeswax and right now they have a competition to win a gorgeous bee necklace to help with the campaign.
Bees are essential for the future of man, so we need to start doing our bit to protect them.