Just in time for Bees’ Needs week (9-17 July), promoted by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), and which calls for green-fingered growers - from window box gardeners to farmers - to act now to protect the 1,500 species of insects that pollinate plants in the UK, including bumble bees, honey bees, solitary bees, hoverflies, beetles, butterflies and moths.
Speaking ahead of Bees’ Needs week, Defra’s Lords Spokesman, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, said:
“It is clear we care about bees - now we need to make sure we translate that concern into real action to protect our precious pollinators.Pollinating insects are essential to maintain the exciting variety of plants and wildlife in the UK, and play a vital role in food production: research estimates their value to crops at approximately £600 million due to improved productivity. Due to changes to the landscape over the last century, not all pollinators can find the food and shelter they need.
“Everyone can play their part to ensure bees have food and a home, from urban window box gardeners to farmers protecting the wildlife around their fields.
“You do not have to be an expert gardener to make a difference: our Bees’ Needs campaign sets out five simple actions we can all take to help pollinators thrive, like cutting grass less often or planting pollinator-friendly flowers.”
Bees’ Needs Week, which kicks off today in partnership with organisations including Friends of the Earth, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, sets out five simple actions everyone can take to give pollinators food and a home.
- Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees rich in nectar and pollen
- Leave patches of land to grow wild
- Cut grass less often
- Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects
- Think carefully about whether to use pesticides
Paul de Zylva, Senior Campaigner, Nature and Eco-system security at Friends of the Earth, said:
“You don’t need to keep bees to be a bee-keeper. At home, in your street, at work or at school, you can help the 250 or more different types of bee by growing the right plants, improving local spaces for pollinators and avoiding pesticides. Simple actions can make sure we are the generation to save Britain’s bees.”Stephen Trotter, Director for The Wildlife Trusts England, said:
“Bees’ Needs Week is a great way of doing something positive for this important group of insects. Bees are fascinating and beautiful in their own right and they also do lots of work that benefits people, for free. There’s much more to bees than making honey. I’ll be building a bee hotel but whatever you do, everyone can make a real difference to the future of these charming animals.”Gill Perkins, Chief Executive Officer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust said:
“Bumblebees and other pollinators are among familiar and much-loved insects that pollinate our crops and wildflowers. We can all make a difference and gardening for bumblebees is one of the most effective ways to help their populations. Whether you have a garden, a window box or even a potted plant, we can all help by planting bee-friendly flowers.”Bees’ Needs Week forms a key part of the wider National Pollinator Strategy, launched in 2014 by Defra in partnership with charities, businesses and academic institutions. Since the launch £65,000 has been awarded through the Landscapes for Wild Pollinators Initiative to three important projects helping farmers and landowners create and protect pollinator-friendly habitats. Defra has also awarded £20,000 to fund Local Nature Partnership pollinator projects in five areas across the country.