Underlining the importance of bees to the food chain, JBT Sint Niklaas has embarked on a new conservation project with Nectarist, a Belgian bee-keeping project that has been set-up to help save honeybee habitats and colonies. 

As part of the initiative, JBT Sint Niklaas, which is based in Belgium’s Flanders region, has installed two bee hives in the gardens on the grounds of its Manufacturing Center. The JBT team has planted extra plants and bushes, as well as a flower meadow, to create extra habitat for the bees. The bee hives will be maintained and harvested by the Nectarist team. 

JBT HSE & Facility Manager Jan Vangansbeke, said: “Bees are one of the most important pollinators on our planet. Without them, many plants and crops would struggle to reproduce and grow. However, bees are currently facing many challenges that put their populations in danger.

“As part of our agreement with Nectarist, JBT accommodates the two bee hives called J-Bee-T Hotels with Nectarist looking after the hives. We expect to produce 100 pots of 125 gram honey at the end of each year. The planting of extra habitat around the hives are all small things that can help the bees to give us delicious honey.”

With bees facing habitat loss as a result of urbanization and industrialization, as well as the impact of climate change and the usage of certain insecticides, there is an urgent need to support the recovery of bees, given their critical role in our ecosystem.

“Bees help pollinate plants, which is essential for food production,” continued Vangansbeke. “Approximately one-third of the food we eat relies on pollinators like bees. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, and many other crops. Bees also contribute to the biodiversity of our planet, helping to maintain healthy ecosystems and promote plant growth.

“If bees were to go extinct, it would have a severe impact on our planet’s ecosystem and food supply. Without bees, many plants and crops would struggle to reproduce, leading to a significant reduction in food production. This could lead to a worldwide food crisis, affecting both humans and animals. In addition, many other species that rely on bees for food or habitat would also be affected, leading to a decline in biodiversity.”

Vangansbeke recommended planting pollinator-friendly plants, such as wildflowers and flowering herbs, to provide bees with a natural food source, plus avoiding the use of certain pesticides and insecticides that have a negative impact on bee populations. 

He added: “Bees are a vital part of our planet’s ecosystem, and their populations are in danger due to various threats. As responsible citizens, we must take action to help protect bees and ensure their survival. By taking simple steps such as planting pollinator-friendly plants, avoiding harmful chemicals, and supporting sustainable beekeeping practices, we can help protect bees and ensure they continue to thrive for generations to come.”