Can you think of a species which bakes its own food, dances with mates, fight wars against each other, and offer their queens flowery stuff (to make babies)? You’ve guessed it, bees. Not what you expected? Well, bees have been around for 100,000,000 years. That’s 99,800,000 more years than humans have walked the Earth.

Recently though, bees have been gravely hit by the change of management on the planetary level. I’m not saying who’s in charge nowadays, but it doesn’t seem like they are doing such a great job.

Thankfully, there are some humans who are making the most to preserve, and even restore the place of other species in the grand scheme of life on our planet. And in this collection, we are proud to introduce our May campaign: No Plan B for bees, with Stadtbienen.

Human planet, but no plan bee

Most Earthlings have heard about the sixth major extinction event we have begun witnessing. The news seems old, but it’s actually brand new. And ongoing. And happening. And mostly human-led. As hard as it is to estimate such a downfall, it’s safe to say that about 30% of bees have died off last year alone. Since 1970, about half of all individual animals have disappeared.

Bee helping flowers pollinate

A bee having sex and dinner at the same time (Credit: Anton Atanasov)

The main reasons outlined by biologists for life’s retreat are: a) habitat reduction, b) overexploitation c) pollution or degradation of the ecosystem. These are all driven by human activity and can all be addressed.

Good news is, bees – and more generally nature – are incredibly resilient. And they respond to threats. And a new habitat has soared to now occupy roughly 3% of our planet’s land mass, cities.

There’s a new habitat in town

New habitats within urban areas, such as rooftop gardens, beer gardens, public gardens and even cemetery gardens (all sorts of gardens) provide bees with new spaces to nest.

Urban areas are – like everything else – an opportunity for nature. New niches have opened from the sewers to the rooftops, and the biotope is already filling them, creating thousands of new ways to live.

Artificial beehive with Stadtbienen

Bees make honey, honey makes happy (Credit: Stadtbienen)

As it stands, cities are responsible for 70% of the world’s carbon emissions and already host more than half of the world’s population. And humanity is not done with this process.

Cities are also one of the fastest growing habitats on this planet. In 40 years, the urban population went from 1.7 billion (or 40% of the world population) to 3.9 billion (or 54%) in 2015. Projections for 2050 take us to a world where 66% of humanity is urbanised, that is 6.4 billion city dwellers. In other words, urbanists estimate that more than half of this growth has yet to be built.

Patching things up with sweet honey

Frightening? A little bit. But not for bees. This is a golden opportunity for them. With help from beekeepers and changes from local regulators, cities could become pesticide-free and hunting-free havens for animals, insect or mammal alike. As pollinators and food makers themselves, bees could help solve another big brain-teaser we’ve been having for a few millennia: feeding all these people. A match made in bee heaven?

Stadtbienen’s mission is to inform, encourage and train aspiring beekeepers across Germany. With courses, workshops and technical support, any individual or institution (you too, business reading us!) can play its part in the preserving of the third most important livestock for humanity.

Stadtbienen Karte

Stadtbienen has swarmed. (Credit: Stadtbienen)

Now, they want to build a mobile bee learning centre, a bee-mobile equipped with a seminar room, hives for both honey and wild bees, and all necessary tools to take their knowledge on the road and spread it far and wide. The “Bee-hub” (that’s the working title) is to be a live museum for bees and their importance for our planet. 

Bees need help, so nature needs help, so you need help. Invest in your security and that of your honey. Next time a little bee bothers your outdoor lunch, remember she is probably the one to thank for it. Join our campaign today. There’s no plan B for bees.