Just before the early October rains started, I was watching honeybees on our buddleia in the front garden and started thinking about how incredible bees are.

But I also reflected on how little most of us know about these incredible insects-or what we can do to help them.

There are an estimated 20,000 species of bee worldwide, of which the vast majority are solitary bees that do not produce honey.

There are just 8 recognised species of honeybee; of which only two are domesticated and produce honey for human consumption.

These are the Western honeybee (found in Europe but also exported to N and S America) and the Eastern honeybee (from Asia and exported to Russia, Australia and Solomon Islands).

There are an estimated 274,000 hives I the UK.

A typical honeybee hive will consist of between 20,000 and 40,000 bees. There will be one queen, several thousand workers and several hundred drones.

The workers are the females, and it is the females that both carry a stinger, look after the larvae and harvest the pollen and nectar from flowers.

So whenever you see honey bees on flowers it is always the female out doing the work! The drones are the males and their job is specifically to go out to “congregation” areas and mate with virgin queens representing other hives.

A congregation area can contain as many as 25,000 drones from up to 200 colonies all trying to mate with a handful of queens. About 1 in 1,000 drones mate successfully.

A typical hive in a year will see bees travel an incredible 55,000 miles between them to produce about 50lbs of honey (about 23kg) and they live a high-speed life, beating their wings at 11,400 times a minute.

This not only aids fast flight but also helped keep the hot hive aerated.

Our bee species (including solitary bees) pollinate 90% of the UK’s wild-flowers and 75% of global crops-without them many critical fruit and veg would not grow.

The value of pollination to UK farmers is estimated to be worth at least £690 million a year.

We all know that bees are in trouble-from pests and disease (such as varroa mite) through to the loss of wild-flower meadows.

Intensive farming has taken a huge toll on bees-not just honeybees but many of the species of solitary bee, butterfly, moth and wasp too.

There are a massive 1,500 insect species in Britain that pollinators and many are in serious trouble. The best thing we can do is provide wild-flowers for pollinators.

It doesn’t matter whether it is single pot or planter or an entire lawn-the important bit is we are all contributing to helping bees and other insects survive-and in turn that will ensure our fruit and veg continue to get pollinated!

If we work together, we can still turn around the fortunes of our pollinating insects. Honeybee are one of many species that will benefit from our care.

And finally if you find a bee species that is lying exhausted from lack of food-mix white sugar with a bit of water, put it on a tea spoon and that should be enough carbs to help revive the insect the bee so it can get back to its hive or nest.

Be a bee first aider and look out for those that have not managed to find enough nectar to get home!