Bee Helpful

wildflowersI love to see a garden full of butterflies, bees buzzing busily around flowers; it seems to complete the picture of the English country garden.  Many flowering plants and crops depend on insect pollinators such as bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies. Honeybees alone pollinate a third of the food we eat including apples, pears and carrots.  Despite their importance, insect pollinators in the UK are believed to be in decline. The number of honeybees in the UK halved between 1985 and 2005, and three quarters of butterfly species and two thirds of moths have seen population declines since the 1970’s.

The Co-op has decided it’s time to do something about this.  They’re calling for people to sign their petition asking the government to carry out a systematic review of the impact of pesticides on our most important pollinators. But that’s not all; they are also funding new scientific research, taking action on their farms, helping people take action in their own gardens and taking action on pesticides.  They are funding the creation of wildflower meadows and urban beekeeping projects and are also asking for your help.

As well as signing the petition they have come up with a number of other ways you can get involved.  You can create a great environment for the pollinators in your garden by sowing wildflower seeds in your garden, installing a beebox, keeping plants well watered, tidying up less and limiting the amount of gravel, concrete and decking in your outside space.

Bee BoxTo help you get involved they are giving away free wildflower seeds, which you can apply for from today (up to 5 packs per person). They’ve also arranged a 25% discount on a Bee Nesting Box from Crocus.  A bee box will help bees to shelter from the rain and by encouraging bees into your garden it should also help your garden bloom.

An easy way to explain to children just how important bees are to our environment is to pick up a copy of the book “The Beeman“, which is written for children, in rhyme.  Grandpa is a beekeeper and explains the basics of beekeeping to his grandson.  The endnotes are full of essential facts about bees, beekeeping, honey, and the vital part that bees play in the natural world.

And if you are feeling adventurous, you could even take up beekeeping!

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