MORE TREES, MORE HAPPY BEES
At Orballo, the plants aren’t the only stars of the show. In Donín, we have these little buzzing machines that play a very important role in the development of our crops… and in 80% of crops around the world.
WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?
The fundamental value of bees lies in the work they do – pollination. You mightn’t even notice it happening, but it’s essential to life on Earth. Big responsibility, isn’t it? Most plants need help to reproduce and bear fruit. And these little insects provide this key service. The bee is the pollinator of 80% of flowering plants. Bees also ensure the reproduction of wild plants and the food for wildlife. Studies have shown that one-third of our daily food is derived directly or indirectly from the pollination of bees.
Bees are able to recognise and memorise the smell of a particular plant species. So, when they head out to “work” they temporarily specialise in a particular type of flower. This results in greater pollination and productivity of the plants.
Throughout history the relationship between bees and humans has gone hand in hand. There is evidence that humans were already working with them more than 8000 years ago, extracting their honey, pollen, wax and royal jelly. Today we can say that there’s a great future in apitherapy and natural cosmetics, thanks to the products generated by bees.
BUT BEES ARE DISAPPEARING. LET’S SAVE THEM!
Alarms have been sounding for many years now about the loss of these insects. There are several causes for this: industrialised agriculture (monoculture), the use of pesticides and herbicides, pollution, invasion of species from other regions…. All of these factors have resulted in a very high mortality rate of these insects in Spain and the loss of their habitats. And, believe it or not, research shows that, in the long term, this is contributing to climate change.
There are many problems resulting from the loss of bees. The main problem is the low pollination of both crops and wild spices, which has harmful economic repercussions on many crops and on the biodiversity of our forests.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
We can contribute to the survival of bees and other pollinators in many ways: by consuming organic, local and seasonal products; by buying products from local beekeepers, and by supporting sustainable beekeeping.
Every spring, Antonio from A Despensa das Abellas (shop selling organic products) installs a dozen beehives a few metres away from our crops, just far enough so as not to disturb them and to respect their space. So, as well as having happy, pollinated plants, we also receive a few jars of exquisite honey that we enjoy throughout the winter and use to treat our colds. What more could you ask for?