The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has partnered with the color illustrator of the Winnie the Pooh books, Mark Burgess, to help save the threatened bees.

The characters, originally illustrated in black and white by E.H. Shepherd, is up for a new story called Winnie the Pooh and the Missing Honeybees. The team-up was initiated following the recent report of the BBKA showing the 14.5 percent decline in the population of colonies last winter. The said drop in bee population is about 50 percent more than the previous year.

The plot of the new story revolves around the notable lack of honey, which is Pooh's favorite snack, in The Hundred Acre Woods. Pooh, together with his best friend, Piglet, then set out to pay the honey bees a visit.

Author AA Milne let Pooh express his sentiments in one of the lines: "I have been very careful with it, Piglet, as there hasn't been much honey lately. But you can only be careful for so long before you run out altogether."

Pooh and Piglet are also joined by their other friends: Tigger, Christopher Robin and Eeyore. The gang is seen planting flowering trees near the Warwick Castle, installing a vegetable bed in the Yorkshire Dales and creating a bee box close to the Angel of the North in Gateshead. Other illustrations include going to a honey show in Glastonbury, painting in Sherwood Forest and placing bee balls in Birmingham.

Winnie the Pooh is popular for his endearing love for honey, and he can inspire families to participate in the activities to help support honey bees, believes Nicole Pearson, associate publisher at Egmont Publishing, the official publisher of the Winnie the Pooh books. The publishing team is looking forward to working with BBKA for a good cause.

The book also features Pooh's guide to saving the honey bees. The tips of the well-loved bear include:

  1. Create your own window box.

  2. Start a vegetable tub or patch.

  3. Allocate space in the garden for a flowering plant.

  4. Create bee or seed balls and scatter them in the wild.

  5. Teach the young children about the significance of bees through the help of crafts and creative activities.

  6. Join the BBKA and be a beekeeper!

  7. Use local honey when baking.

  8. Create homes for bees.

  9. Do volunteer work for local beekeeper groups or go to the local apiary.

  10. Relax at the sight of a swarm of honey bees. Call for support from the local bee authorities.

The BBKA conducted a survey and found that 58 percent of the participants desire to help honey bees but just do not know how. The group hopes that through their collaboration with the makers of Winnie the Pooh, families may be encouraged to participate and contribute to the welfare of bees and advancement of bee research.

Photo: Loren Javier | Flickr

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