National Honey Bee Day is an awareness day when honey bee enthusiasts, beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations recognise the importance of this critical species and the honey bee’s impact on our everyday lives.
There are thousands of pollinator species in the UK – from wild pollinators including bumble bees and many solitary bees, moths, flies and butterflies, to honey bees. But their populations are under threat from risks such as habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, pests and disease, climate change and inappropriate pesticide use.
Creating a Buzz
Bees and other pollinators are an essential part of our environment and contribute the equivalent of more than £500 million a year to UK agriculture and food production, by improving crop quality and quantity – and are also vital to our wider, natural ecosystems.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow is calling on everyone – from individuals, farmers, gardeners, or managers of urban spaces – to take five simple actions to care for bees and other pollinators.
Five simple actions everyone can take to help pollinators and make sure their populations are sustained are:
- Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
- Let your garden grow wild
- Cut your grass less often
- Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots
- Think carefully about whether to use pesticides
DEFRA and several green organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society and Bumblebee Conservation Trust, are all working together to encourage everyone to do simple things at home, at work, and in other private and public spaces to help our precious pollinators thrive.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow says: “Bees and other pollinators are not just a welcome and much-loved sight in our gardens, parks, villages and countryside – they are vital to a healthy environment, driving our economy and boosting biodiversity. Everyone can help them flourish by leaving patches of garden to grow wild, growing more flowers, cutting grass less often, not disturbing insect nests, and carefully considering how we use pesticides.
This is also one of the key messages of our recently launched ‘Plant for our Planet’ campaign – aimed at inspiring the public to support nature recovery by engaging in a variety of green activities to move us to a more sustainable future as we build back greener after the pandemic and step up our efforts in tackling the climate crisis which is the focus of the COP26 summit.
Actions that we can take for pollinators and biodiversity will enable us to tackle and adapt to climate change – I encourage everyone to get involved.”
Monty Don, Gardeners’ World presenter, writer and speaker on horticulture, says: “British gardeners can actively nurture and conserve the bee population. Gardens are always a rich source of food for wild bees and with a little care can be made even better for them without any trouble or loss of pleasure to the gardener.
You do not need rare or tricky plants. In fact, the opposite is true. Bees need pollen and the smaller flowers of unhybridised species are likely to be a much richer source than huge show blooms on plants that are the result of elaborate breeding.”
Monty adds: “Any flower that is open and simple, such as members of the daisy family, or any that are set like a lollipop on a stick, such as scabious, and all members of the thistle family, are ideal for attracting honey bees, which have rather short tongues so need easy access. Bumble bees have longer tongues so are better adapted for plants that have more of a funnel shape, such as foxgloves.”
To encourage honeybees and other pollinators into your garden, be sure to visit Van Hage at PE1. The well-established garden centre is a haven for beautiful blooms that will help make your outdoor space bee-friendly! Head in-store to browse and buy.