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Time For Plan Bee

It is fair to say that, over recent years, there has been quite a buzz around the humble bumble. More and more people are seeing bees for the little superheroes they are, realising that by saving them today, we are saving ourselves tomorrow. The pollination they help carry out is vital to the status quo of our food chain, and, according to Chile’s ONG Plan Bee, 60% of the food we eat every day is thanks to the work of our busy bees...

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Save the bees so they can save us!

Worryingly, however, 35% of the world’s bee population is dying every year. With world hunger and food shortages growing all the time, alarm bells should really be starting to ring.

Without bees, there will be no more milk in your morning latte, no more cacao for your Monday-pick-me-up chocolate, no more mango brightening up your fruit salad, and, to put it bluntly, quite simply not enough to nourish a population so reliant upon insect pollination for its food production. So it’s about time we all got a bee in our bonnet, so to speak, about safeguarding the future of our diligent little friends.

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We have so many reasons to bee thankful!

ONG Plan Bee is a non-profit organisation which was formed in 2012, when workers at Rejipro S.A., an apicultural company specialising in the extraction of propolis, realised the dangers facing bees and their hives in Chile, where 8% of the bee population dies every year. They studied over 52, 000 bee hives in the regions of Coquimbo and Valparaíso over a period of two years. As Yasmín Villagrán of ONG Plan Bee told The Santiago Times, Chile is the greatest exporter of fruit in the southern hemisphere, and thus a bee population zooming towards extinction would severely sting the country’s economy. The organisation aims to identify why the bee population is in decline, and to raise awareness about the plight of the bee, educating the public as to how we can all do our bit for those who do so much for us. ONG Plan Bee hopes to turn Chile into a much-needed refuge for ailing bee populations.

They have already launched campaigns in many schools, teaching the next generation the ways in which human life depends upon the work of bees. Beehives have been set up throughout Metropolitan Santiago, and the country's first bee reserve has been set up in the town of Los Molles, with others planned to be built elsewhere within the next couple of years.

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Taking care of our bees

The modern world presents many challenges to bees, including habitat loss through building and development, deforestation, drought, disease, the use of pesticides, and the impact of rival invading species. If the situation remains the same, Chile’s bees could disappear within the next fifteen years according to ONG Plan Bee. But there is another option. This spring, ONG Plan Bee has launched their campaign ‘Polinicemos Chile' (Let’s Pollinate Chile), in a bid to raise awareness about what we really have at stake if we lose our bees. Not only would we be waving farewell to many vital fruits and vegetables, but also to the jobs and livelihoods of the people who work in related industries.

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Bees give us more than just honey

If we want future generations to experience life as we know and enjoy it, we need to protects our planet's biodiversity right now.

What can I do to help save the bees?

  • Plant bee-friendly plants in your garden (lavender, rosemary, oregano, mint, chamomile, basil, roses, strawberries, tomatoes...)
  • There’s no need to kill bees! If one flies in through your open window, try to guide it gently back out the way it came, using a piece of paper or a magazine.
  • Keep some fresh water beside your plants so parched bees can keep themselves hydrated.
  • Don’t use pesticides on your plants when they are in flower.
  • Become a beekeeper yourself and spread the word - the world’s bees need you!

And happy International Coffee Day - stir some honey into your coffee today for a healthier, natural alternative to sugar, courtesy of our hard-working bees!