Bees are the world's most important pollinating insects and are worth about £200m a year to British agriculture.
Their dramatic decline in numbers has become a cause of global concern.
Across the UK people are joining Bee Part Of It, a BBC project supported by wildlife presenter Kate Humble, to create local bee-friendly spaces.
"Most of our wild honeybees have died out and we, as humans, are very dependent on bees to pollinate food crops," said Kate.
"I realised that by becoming a beekeeper I could do something really tangible to help the fairly desperate situation that our bee population has found itself in.
"If you believe what Einstein is reputed to have said - we would only survive for four years if there were no bees in the world," she added.
Kate Humble: Help the UK's bees
Professor Francis Ratnieks of Sussex University is Britain's only professor of apiculture, the study of beekeeping.
He said it's impossible to predict how the 45 new Bee Part Of It hives at National Trust properties across the UK will fare.
"You're not guaranteed anything. For a start, the queen could die, and if the colony fails to rear a replacement queen, the colony will die out.
"A colony can also swarm, meaning that half the worker bees and the queen leave to set up a new colony. This is nature and nothing is guaranteed."
Owning a hive and learning to be a beekeeper has become a popular pastime, with many people taking courses run by the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA).
BUZZING BEE FACTS
Honeybees are the only bees to produce enough honey for us to collect
There are 250 species of bee in the UK consisting of bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees - with approximately 25,000 known species of bee in the world
Pollination delivers 14.2bn to the European economy, most of this is through bumblebees and honeybees
Bumblebees have smelly feet! They produce oily secretions to inform other bees which flowers have already been visited
Source: The Bumblebee Conservation Trust
"Our membership has increased by around 4,000 people in the last 12 months," said Martin Smith, president of the BBKA.
"A typical course might include a couple of days' theory and 10 practical sessions spread over the season.
"In terms of cost you're looking at around £500 to get yourself started as a beekeeper. It's important too that if you're starting a colony to try and source the bees from your local area."
If becoming a beekeeper is a commitment too far, then planting bee-friendly flowers or creating a home for solitary bees is a less time-consuming option.
Solitary bees have been found to be 300 times better at pollinating apple blossom than honeybees and there are vegetables, like tomatoes, that are only pollinated by the bumblebee.
A bug's life
A range of other insects also play their small, but vital part, in pollinating our fruits and flowers.
According to the charity Buglife, 90% of wildflowers could be threatened with extinction without insects to pollinate them. Honey, chocolate, coffee and silk are just some of the luxuries that wouldn't exist without invertebrates.
"Humans and wildlife depend for their survival on the pollination services that are provided by hoverflies, butterflies, moths and beetles as well as all the bees," said Matt Shardlow, ecologist and chief executive of Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust.
"The loss of wildflowers in the countryside has pushed many species to the brink so it's really important to plant wild type flowers and put them back into the countryside."
Beekeeping isn't just a rural operation - bees can thrive in villages, towns and cities as long as the conditions are right.
BBC Radio Suffolk will have 1000 packets of free bee-friendly wildflower seeds to distribute at the Suffolk Show 2010.
We'll be buzzing around the marquee at plot 490, Trinity Park near Ipswich, Wednesday 2 and Thursday 3, June.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.