Last year Slange Var distributed over 200 wildflower seed packets. We asked our founder, Sarah Dougon, why supporting bee conservation is important.
Why are Honey Bees important to you?We blend a small yet delicious dose of honey to make Slange Var and are mindful of the creatures that produce it. Did you know, honey Bees are the only insect to produce food for humans. They pollinate our plants and are vital for our entire food supply.
Why did customers get wildflower seeds?
We want to help tackle the decline in honey bee population by giving wildflower seed packets to increase bee food. We gave over 200 packets to customers in 2018. When a customer's plants the seeds, they will grow into flowers and because they are suited to our environment they will provide the essential nectar that bees require to survive.
Why are bees in decline?Since the late 1990s, beekeepers have reported dramatic declines in the honeybee population, citing habitat loss, pollution, pesticides and global warming as possible causes. It is widely accepted that most wild honeybee colonies have died out in the U.K. and this is due to the loss of much of the natural hedgerows and pastureland, increased use of pesticides, diseases, and pests.
Why are honey bees critical to our food chain?
Quite simply, if we want to continue eating healthy, delicious food, then we need to look after our bees. A whopping three quarters of our crops depend on bee pollination, the decline could have a major impact on our food supply.
How else is Slange Var helping?
We’re raising awareness of the impact honey bee loss has on our food chain and working with suppliers who are dedicated to supporting the local honey bee population. Without beekeepers and conservation minded people to care for them honeybees could disappear in a few years. One of our ingredients comes from award-winning honey from our supplier, Plan Bee Ltd, a company that's dedicated to supporting bees through their managed bee-hive service.
What wildflower seeds are in Bee Food?
Once the seeds grow into beautiful flowers, they’ll provide the essential nectar that bees require to survive.
The bee mix contains:
- Bush Vetch – Vicia cracca
- Devil’s-bit scabious – Succisa pratensis
- Rock Rose – Helianthemum nummularium
- Viper’s bugloss – Echium vulgare
- Toadflax – Linaria vulgaris
Our thanks to Keep Scotland Beautiful for supplying these seeds packs.
What can we do in Scotland and the UK to help the bees?
Those with gardens can do their bit by growing wildflowers and thinking ‘meadows’ not ‘lawns’. At a national level we have to support the recent plan presented to the UN by Stefanie Christmann of the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas. Her plan supports bees natural habitats and enriches farmers through the planting of wildflowers to attract pollinators and boost farmers’ food crops.
This plan will pay off. Just look at the three year study on Britain’s biggest courgette farm published Nov 2018. They found that planting wildflowers in field margins attracted bees to pollinate crops and ultimately increased yields by almost 40 per cent.