It's Bees’ Needs Week (17-23 July), we can all be doing something to help our precious pollinators thrive. A YouGov poll from 2016 found almost a quarter of English adults (24%) said their household had planted pollinator-friendly plants in gardens or window boxes to encourage pollination, and a fifth had let areas of their garden grow wild to give bees enough nectar and pollen.
However, 57% said their household had taken no action to provide bees and other pollinators with food and homes.
Green-fingered growers – from windowbox gardeners to farmers – are being asked to act now to protect the 1,500 species of insects that pollinate plants in the UK, including bumblebees, honey bees, solitary bees, hoverflies, beetles, butterflies and moths. These insects are essential to maintain the exciting variety of plants and wildlife in the UK, and play a vital role in food production.
Five simple ways you can help
Bees’ Needs Week, held 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
Image reproduced with permission of Defra
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 are more than 250 wild bee species in the UK, so 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.”
Find out more
Follow #BeesNeeds on Twitter to find out more about the campaign and tweet your pollinator questions to charities, businesses and bee experts.
- Build a bee hotel to provide homes for some of the 260 species of solitary bee that nest in hollow plant stems, holes in cliffs and crumbling buildings – find out how in Defra's video tutorial