I recently arranged a talk from our local bee keeper to encourage my local town to help save bees by creating more bee friendly areas in their gardens. I thought I’d share what I learned; if everyone in the country with access to a bit of garden, a yard or just a window box read this and took action, we’d be saving bees.
Why we need bees
They are responsible for pollinating one third of the world’s crops. It’s insanity not to save bees. No bees = no food, it’s a simple as that.
The three main things that threaten bees
Use of pesticides – most of the ones used by farmers and in agriculture, and many of the ones we might buy to use at home in our garden
Lack of forage/food/pollen – bees need a great diversity of different pollens to eat all through the year. Imagine we could only eat pizza – not enough nutrition in it – bees are the same, they want to forage loads of different pollens.
Climate change – dramatic changes in temperature, unseasonal hot periods, floods, etc. are extremely damaging to bees.
What we can do right now
Leave dandelions – this is so important – such a very simple way to save bees; when they wake up and go looking for food dandelions are one of the first things they find, it’s vital that when they leave the hive and go out, they actually find food. If they don’t, they’ll go back to the hive, starving and die.
Encourage wildflower meadows – these give bees the great variety of food they need and flower continuously for longer periods of time. Can we have our own little wildflower areas in our own gardens and yards, can we encourage our local councils to leave grass verges and roundabouts wild?
Let nature be nature – don’t cut stuff back in Spring, don’t pull up weeds, let your grass grow with clover in it, leave sticks and dead wood for pollinators where they might put their lava.
When putting new plants and flowers into our gardens, look for plants that have bee symbols on them or research what bees like, all through the year.
Ewan told us that of all his hives around Manchester, Chorlton and Wilmslow, the ones in Wilmslow produce the least honey and have the most difficulty surviving. We don’t have enough variety of forage/crops for them round here. So it’s OUR responsibility to create more forage/food for them here in Wilmslow. His bees are kept in the land behind Wilmslow Animal Sanctuary and they will fly for 3 miles looking for food, and it’s vital that they find it. If you live in 3 miles of there, get planting bee-friendly items in your garden. There is a garden area next to the hives there, and they would greatly appreciate donations of bee friendly plants. Do you have anything that you could leave out to be picked up?
Also please be aware of a terrible threat to bees – the Asian Hornet – if you see one, you need to report it (link on to what to look out for).
Things to plant right now in your garden:
Apples & pears
Websites to look at for more info:
https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/ – you can send off for a bee saver kit, which is fab for the kids.
You can also read more about our general environment policies here.