Bees are essential for pollinating crops and wild plants
We depend on them not only for honey but a whole array of foods that make our lives richer. As humans we have an ancient relationship with bees and throughout the centuries have sought to learn from their altruistic society.
A decline in bees is detrimental to the world
The decline in Bees is symptomatic of how mass farming has wrecked havoc with our natural habitats. Destroying most of our meadow land, coupled with the use of pesticides. This amounts to bees being half starved and poisoned, weakening their ability to cope with what is already a challenging existence and fight off diseases often brought in by bees, mass bred and shipped across the world.
On top of this they also have to contend with the varroa mite, a parasite which attaches itself to the bee weakening their immune system even further. It is not surprising then that the Bee is under threat.
People talk about the Bees being the canary in the coal mine and I believe this to be true. Miners would take canaries down into the mine to test for poisonous gases*. The bee is much smaller than ourselves and more obviously sensitive to its environment but how long before we begin to be seriously affected by what’s happening to our natural world?
I love drawing insects
They hold their shape after death which enables me to handle them. I get absorbed in the detail. I draw bees also because of what they symbolise to me, I admire their industry and find their altruistic society fascinating.
I work with the Bumblebee Conservation TRUST
I began using my work to raise money and awareness for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) back in 2010 with the annual Art Car Boot Fair in London. And since then have drawn countless bees through live drawing events. I see this as a nod to the bees’ tireless industry and as homage to their plight.
The most recent event I have been involved in was at the Big Nature Day at the Natural History Museum.
I am also involved in the collection of Bee data which is achieved through bee walks. This is important conservation work, creating maps of their numbers.
My friends and family are very supportive of my work and the bees!
The easiest way people can help save the bees is by planting bee friendly flowers. Also joining a trust like the BBCT and getting involved in Bee walks is a massive help. This involves walking a path and logging the bees that you see. You can find more information about bee walks on the BBCT website website.
My favourite bee saying is
Busy bee busy bee have you got some time for me?
I love wild bees best
The Blaeberry bumble bee has wonderful colourings. And also the Great Yellow Bumble Bee. Both are very much under threat and with the latter now only found in the highlands of Scotland.
Support small bee keepers
I think it is important to support good relatively small bee keepers. Good beekeepers have happy bees! And local organic honey is best because it contains a blend of local pollen which can strengthen your immune systems and help reduce pollen allergies. Mass bee keeping is bad news as it ships bees about spreading disease.
However, whether the honey bees are happy having their winter stores pillaged is another question!.
However, I expect it is very frustrating having your winter stores pillaged. I recently read a book called The Bees by Laline Paul. It is a thriller about the life of a bee and although it sometimes goes a little far into fantasy it is an incredibly good portrayal of the life cycle of the Bee and a bees perspective of their world.
limited hand finished prints are available to buy
I have bought a meadow in Devon
I have just finished a bee painting on glass for the Basel Art fair and shall be off to Devon soon to check in on a little bit of meadow which I will be drawing from and documenting – as well as counting the bees!
*canaries were used to detect the presence of carbon monoxide or methane in mines. Because they were smaller and more sensitive than humans they would be affected first, thus serving as a warning signal.