Bees and pollinators are disappearing at an alarming rate.
PANGAIA launched the Bee The Change fund in partnership with Milkywire on World Bee Day 2020, with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of pollinators and to support grassroots NGOs working to preserve them.
Why are we creating a buzz about bees?
Pollinators are crucial for the balance and health of ecosystems around the world. These small but mighty creatures are critical to our food supply – they pollinate 70 of the 100 crop species (approx.) that feed 90% of the world. The impact of bees and other pollinators on our food chain can not be understated and their influence should not be taken for granted.
A world without bees is a world without a lot of the things we love. Like fruit, chocolate and even coffee. Most species of fruit, chocolate, from the cacao plant, and robusta coffee plants all depend on pollinators.
Climate change, pesticide use and loss of their natural habitat has led bees and other pollinators to decline at a rapid pace. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists that as many as 24% of Europe’s bumblebee species are now threatened with extinction. Without strategic intervention and a concerted effort from committed partners and and active global citizens, we could face a world where bees are extinct.
Who does Bee The Change support?
We’re working with 4 grassroots organizations around the world.
BugLife (United Kingdom)
Buglife’s B-Lines project helps pollinators, including bees, to move across the UK by creating a network of insect pathways. Most pollinators are confined to isolated habitat areas, and an estimated 40-70% of species could go extinct if action is not taken.
- Created or restored 65.3 hectares of wildflower-rich habitats for declining pollinators
- Trained 417 people in pollinator and botanical identification and surveying
- Supported over 1,000 hours of volunteering and engaged over 4,600 people at workshops, talks and events
Nordens Ark (Sweden)
Nordens Ark’s Tag a Bee project aims to tag 5000 bees in Sweden with RFID chips (radio-frequency identification) to learn how, when, and where they fly to collect pollen, which can then better inform the protection and preservation of both domestic and wild bees and their habitats.
- Planned and designed 100 sowing and planting sites with the aim of improving pollinator habitat.
- Registered 24 potential sites for ground nesting wild bees and other pollinators.
- Cleared approximately 5 hectares of land from encroaching birch trees to maintain grazing and flowers habitats.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust (United Kingdom)
The Short-haired Bumblebee Reintroduction project is reintroducing this bee species to the UK by working with farmers, conservation groups, and other landowners to create flower-rich habitats within the release area. The species was last recorded in 1988 and declared extinct in 2000.
- Recruited an additional 24 volunteers who are undertaking bumblebee surveys and a further 18 land owners who have been given bespoke advice to increase flower rich habitat for bumblebees and other pollinators.
- 400 people participated in bumblebee identification courses and talks, and 60 people attended the five public identification courses.
- 15 habitat work party days were held across 15 sites, with eight volunteers involved in planting early spring forage, and advice was given to four farmers and two councils on improving floristic diversity, abundance, and seasonal length.
Milgis Trust (Kenya)
Milgis Trust runs a beekeeping program together with indigenous groups in Northern Kenya. They use sustainable beekeeping methods and develop marketable products to enhance the beekeepers’ livelihood.
- Training on dry season feeding techniques: The Laikipia Bee Feeding Workshop trained traditional beekeepers on dry season feeding techniques to maintain their hives during the drought.
- Delivery of beehives: The workshop delivered 10 beehives to the Ntasate Community Apiary, 5 of which were colonized and provided a boost to the apiary.
- Drought management strategy: In response to the predicted heavily suppressed short rain season, the workshop implemented a drought management strategy to help Samburu beekeepers, which included sensitizing them to refrain from harvesting, removing empty honey supers, and starting a small savings to buy sugar to supplement their hives.
Did you know...
There are over 20,000 species of bees. There are so many that scientists can't name them all.
Researchers have found that bees, despite having brains the size of a poppy seed, are capable of recognizing and remembering human faces. They were able to discover this by pairing images of human faces with sugar-laced water, and even when the reward was no longer present, the bees were still able to recognize and remember individual faces.
Honeybees have a dance move called the ‘waggle dance’. It’s not actually a dance move at all, rather a clever way of communicating between themselves to tell their nestmates where to go to find the best source of food. It took the researchers at Sussex University two years to decode their moves.
The Bee The Change Capsule
Our bee-printed capsule was introduced on World Bee Day—but for us, every day should be World Bee Day. With every purchase, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Bee The Change, directly supporting field projects and initiatives to save and restore the bees, including protecting against habitat loss and pesticide use. These limited-edition sweatshirts and T-shirts are made with undyed organic cotton and treated with our trademark peppermint oil (PPRMINT™) to keep them fresher for longer.