I love the “traffic” in our garden each summer: everywhere you look there are bumblebees flitting about, landing and sampling the flowers – no matter to them whether it’s a glorious rose or a lowly teasel. And the sounds of all these hard workers on a summer afternoon are amazing: a deep, almost steady thrumming all around, punctuated by brief intense buzzes as they move on to a different plant.
It’s high time we gave bees the credit they deserve. After all, without their constant hard work all summer long, how would we have such beauty all around us, let alone all the food crops that grace our tables? And not to mention the honey, of course.
True, other insects – and even some birds – contribute a share of the pollination, but bees have to be the hardest working, most productive pollinators around, bar none. We really do depend on them: it’s estimated that a third of all the food we eat requires pollination by bees. So it’s worrisome, to say the least, that bee popoulations are in steep decline all over the world. The latest reports in the US show a 96% drop in four species of bumble bees over the past few decades, and the figures from Europe are similarly bleak. One of the causes has likely been the increased global use of pesticides since the 1970s – part of the dark side of the “Green Revolution”.
Organic gardens like ours provide a much-needed safe haven for bees, birds and other wildlife. And of course, a wonderful place for photographers to hang out!