How are we all doing? In this post I am interviewing the amazing Megan from Bird’s Bees who runs a fantastic small business. Hope you enjoy.
Hello Megan, please introduce yourself and your amazing bee friendly business.
Hello everyone I’m Meg, I’m 25 and I’m from Cheshire, North West. My surname is Bird which is where the business name “Bird’s Bees” comes from!
I’ve always loved nature, wildlife and being outdoors. After finishing school, I went on to gain a BTEC diploma in Animal Management, BSc (Hons) degree in Animal Science and an MSc degree in Wildlife Conservation!
During university, my dissertation projects focussed on dominance behaviour in mouse lemurs and the potential use of induced pluripotent stem cell technology to aid avian conservation! These projects allowed me to explore both field and laboratory based conservation work, and I have to say conservation genetics/scientific technology is where my passion lies (it literally merges my BSc and MSc).
After finishing my MSc I went travelling around Asia for six months and volunteered with some incredible animal organisations out there! I had the honour of working with giant pandas, elephants, pangolins, sun bears and on a mangrove restoration project. Additionally, I volunteer at a local nature reserve and for Cheshire Wildlife Trust.
Since being back in the UK, I gained some temporary work in hospitality but unfortunately fell through the furlough gap. This left me with a lot of time on my hands and you could say my interests went a lot more macro! I started focussing on my garden and how I could encourage more wildlife into it. I put up more and more bird feeders, planted wild flowers, let the grass grow long and of course started making insect hotels! Inspired by other small businesses I thought hmm maybe I should try selling some of these because I wanted to increase awareness and educate people on the importance of bees! Almost overnight, my idea to help conserve bees turned into a small business!
What has made you so passionate about the plight of the bee?
Albert Einstein once said “if bees disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live”. That’s because bees pollinate ~75% of our crops which feed ~90% of the world! Without bees we wouldn’t be able to sustain the global population. Our ecosystem and our survival relies on pollinators!
Unfortunately, bees face a number threats including habitat loss and fragmentation, loss of nesting sites, loss of wild flower meadows and diverse food sources, climate change, and increased use of herbicides and pesticides. These threats have left 1 in 10 of Europe’s bee species and 41% of UK insects facing extinction.
I’m passionate about bee conservation because I want to secure the future for the next generations. Planting wild flowers or adding a bee hotel to your garden is a small step which can make a huge difference!
How do you decide what to make?
I initially started with one type of bee hotel with the aim of conserving bees and increasing awareness. I never expected it to take off like it did, so I had no plans for expansion or any ideas for new products. After the initial, overwhelming, positive feedback I began thinking about new ideas. I take inspiration from garden centres, Pinterest and Google but I really love upcycling and repurposing items which can be seen in the newer products! I try to make products which will attract wildlife into anyone’s garden no matter how small! Our aim is to always be an affordable alternative to the garden centres! I’m already planning new products to be launched in spring so keep your eyes peeled!
Why is reclamation of resources to make your products so important to you?
All of our wood is sourced from a local tree surgeon which allows us to repurpose the materials, which under normal circumstances would get chipped, wasted or burnt. The tin cans used in our products are all saved and repurposed rather than recycled and the majority of materials which go into the tins are sourced from local woodlands. The bird product range upcycles household crockery into unique feeders, houses and baths. Reclamation of resources is really important to me to ensure the environmental impact of the business is kept to a minimum! Upcycled products also inspire others and the more people upcycling the better – together we can make a difference.
Do you have a Bee fun fact to share?
Most people have heard of bumblebees and honey bees but tend not to know solitary bees exist.
So when I tell them that ~250 of the ~270 bee species we have here in the UK are solitary they are often mind blown!
Naturally solitary bees would lay their eggs in dead plant stems, dead wood or in old walls but habitat loss is making these nesting sites less and less available. Providing solitary bees with hotels gives them alternate nesting sites! This enables their reproductive cycle to continue year on year and to ensure they keep pollinating our plants!
It is the initiative and determination, demonstrated by Megan that gives me hope. Making a difference doesn’t have to be monumental, expensive or involve big, grand gestures. Sometimes, small changes, such as providing a home and food resources for species, can really help. It also helps people realise that they can make a big difference through small changes or additions to your area, whether that be a garden, balcony or park – and those combined changes, really make a difference.
Thank you Megan for taking part in this interview and your fantastic work. I really encourage everyone to have a look at her Etsy site, and follow her on Social Media for more affordable, brilliant bug and bee hotels, bird feeders and wildflower seeds.
For links to Bird’s Bees Hotels, see below.
ETSY Shop – Click Here.
Instagram – Click Here.
Bumblebee Conservation Trust (for more bee info!) – Click Here.