Imagine a world without strawberries, kiwifruit, apples, nuts, coffee, chocolate or even denim jeans. These are all foods and products pollinated by honey bees. Bees around the world and especially in New Zealand cannot survive without our help, and in turn we wouldn’t survive without them. The bee population in New Zealand contributes about $5 billion to our economy annually and supports about one third of everything we eat!
This year to help raise awareness our Enviro Team have been getting creative and designing an image using digital software to to shine a spotlight on the role bees play as pollinators of our food and other products we consume.
We got into a few teams and using the ipads and the sketchbook app we have created the following posters which have been entered into a competition and have been put up around the school. We hope you like them!
Lulu, Bonnie May and Gracie:
Our poster is all about how important bees are to humans and why we need to keep them safe. Without bees we wouldn’t have things like honey, denim jeans and lots more. We used sketchbook and had lots of fun playing around with all the tools to get our poster how we wanted it.
Dimitri and Solomon:
Our poster is all about how bees are important to people all around the world. Without bees we wouldn’t be able to have lots of things like chocolate, fruits, denim jeans and most of all honey. Solomon and I used sketchbook to make the bee awareness poster.
Josie, Maria & Talesha:
Our poster represents the many things that bees pollinate that we would be without if we did not have bees. Many of the drawings on our poster are things that bees pollinate, including denim jeans!
Maria, Talesha and I used a tool called sketchbook on the ipad to create our bee awareness poster.
Here’s what can we do to help our precious New Zealand bees survive:
- Grow plants in your garden that attract bees. – Bees love plants with ample amounts of pollen and nectar such as borage, lavender, rosemary, calendula and forget-me-not.
- Don’t mow your lawn too often, leave clover and dandelion in the lawn for a while for bees to forage on.
- Eat more organic food to encourage producers to limit pesticides on crops.
- If you come across a swarm of bees please don’t call the exterminators but instead call your local beekeeping club.
- Find out more about the honey you are eating and make sure it is from beekeepers who care about their bee’s health and not just about production.
- Spread the word by letting people know about how important bees are
- Garden organically or use bee friendly sprays and use them at dusk when the bees are back in their hives.
- Create a shallow pond in your garden where bees can land on the edges to collect water
National Geographic for Kids has some interesting facts about bees on their website – have a look here.
Another interesting fact about bees is that they can see ultraviolet light, and what they see when they look at flowers is quite different to what we see. Scientists have studied this in order to optimise pollination for worldwide produce – “every third bite that you consume at the dinner table is the result of insect pollinators’ work” – the way growers organise their greenhouses can be based on which plants they need the bees to spot first! On this flower below, the Creeping Zinnia, the spots that the bees see through their ultra-violet lens acts as a landing pad to direct them to where the nectar is. Have a look at the full article from the BBC here. If you want to try and see flowers the way bees do, you could get yourself a piece of blue cellophane (leftover from craft or gift-wrapping) and look through that. Certain flowers will appear brighter than others.