Video… Save the Bees and Dance!

Two years ago I posted a dance video about bees that showed how bees do a special dance when they find a good source of nectar.

It was a brilliant, fun way to get people engaged with the plight of bees, created by the guys over at helpthehoneybees. And if you’re interested in learning more about saving bees, there’s a lot of great information on their website.

Here are two more of their funky bee dance videos. Stand up and get down for the bees!

Do the honey bee, do the honey bee, yeah!

Bees do disco!

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VIDEO… Bees Dance When They Find Nectar

When bees find a good source of nectar they return to the hive and perform a unique dance for their hive mates.

This fun, 2-minute dance video (from www.helpthehoneybees.com) uses music and choreography inspired by bees . . .

Why Bees Are Important to Our Food Crops

Bee in a courgette flowerSo what’s all the fuss about bees? Bees help to pollinate a wide range of food crops, including fruits, nuts, spices and vegetables. Without bees, food production would fall dramatically.

Pollination is important for a wide range of plants, but it is essential for those which cannot self-pollinate, particularly those that have separate male and female flowers.

Self-pollinating Plants

Some fruits and vegetables have flowers that contain both male and female parts (male – stamen/anthers, female – stigma/pistil/ovary). These types of plants self-pollinate when pollen is shaken off the stamen onto the stigma due to a breeze for example. Gardeners growing tomatoes in greenhouses often gently shake their plants to achieve the same result.

Plants that can self-pollinate include: • Tomatoes • Peppers • Beans • Chicory • Endive and • Peas.

Plants That Need Pollinating By Insects

Plants that have separate male and female flowers rely on bees for pollination. When the bee visits the male flower its legs and body become coated with pollen. When the bee visits the female flower, the pollen gets transferred to the stigma.

Some gardeners choose to hand-pollinate these flowers if bees are not visiting their garden. They do this by collecting pollen from the male flower using a paintbrush and then brushing it on to the stigma of the female flower. However, this method is only sustainable for very small crops.

Plants that need pollinating by insects include: • Apple • Asparagus • Aubergine • Avocado • Broccoli • Brussels sprouts • Cashews • Cauliflower • Celeriac • Celery • Cucumber • Kiwi • Melons • Onions • Papaya • Pumpkin • Squash • Strawberry.

For a more in-depth list click here.

When a plant is successfully pollinated, the ovary grows to become the fruit or vegetable. If it is unsuccessful, the ovary will wither and die. Sometimes the fruit grows only a little and this may be due to inadequate pollination where not enough pollen has been transferred.

Photo via Flickr by eNil.

 

Vegging Out’s Year of the Bee

Bee by Danny Perez PhotographyThis year at Vegging Out there’s a buzz in the air – or rather, I am hoping there will be a buzz in the air.

Inspired by Damian Grounds of Help Save Bees, I’m making 2010 Vegging Out’s Year of the Bee.

Bees are crucial to many of our fruit and vegetable crops. Without bees our harvests would be extremely disappointing and food choices may become limited.

Bees Under Threat

Unfortunately the bee population has been under threat over the last few years with what is now referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder – you may have noticed less bees in your garden.

The cause of colony collapse is as yet unknown, but some of the reasons that have been touted include: a virus, malnutrition, the use of pesticides, immune disorder, mites and fungus.

Help Save Bees

Damian Grounds set up Help Save Bees to raise awareness about the plight of our native British bees. His website and blog are great sources of information for anyone interested in learning more about bees.

For my Year of the Bee I plan to help spread the word about the plight of bees through this blog. I also hope to discover and share ways of encouraging bees back into our gardens, and am keen to make my tiny garden as bee-friendly as possible. There is also a local apiary that holds beekeeping courses, which I hope to be able to get to and I will of course write about those here, too.

Vote for The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

I’ve started my campaign for bees by voting for The Bumblebee Conservation Trust to help them win £25,000 for their latest conservation project.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust wants to restore a habitat for the Shrill Carder bumblebee (Bombus sylvarum) one of the UK’s rarest bumblebee species. This is one of six eco-projects in the running to win £25,000. You can help the Trust by voting for their project here.

Photo via Flickr by Danny Perez Photography.