An article by Peter Clark
Bees Help Us All
I remember that in my father’s tomato nursery we used to regularly introduce bumblebees into the glasshouses to pollinate the flowers and achieve that bumper crop. Fortunately, I never got stung once in the glasshouse and you soon forget they are there as they are far more interested in the flowers and getting their own meal.
Without bees, the world would starve. A bold statement I know but they really are that important to the planet’s ecosystem. Bees are found on nearly every continent in the world and have adapted to many different climates. There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world. The UK alone has 267 species ranging from the humble bumblebee to the honey bee, but the majority are the solitary bees of which there are over 220 species.
Bees are primary pollinators and are responsible for the majority of flowers and crops pollination in the UK. Bees pollinate billions of plants around the world and are vital pollinators in the production of food.
Fewer bees = fewer plants and crops = fewer insects overall = fewer species that feed on vegetation and insects = less food for the planet full stop!
Bees Need Help
The sad fact is that bee numbers are in decline. Some reports suggest that bees are declining more rapidly in England than in other parts of Europe.
There have been many surveys and explanations as to why the bees are declining and I am a little lost myself as to which is correct. Maybe it’s a combination of all of them:
- Climate change means the timing of flowers opening and bees emerging have altered.
- Overuse of pesticides.
- Loss of hedgerows.
- If unable to water from beneath, spray water lightly over the tray.
- Intensive farming and the loss of hedgerows and meadows.
- Disease within the colonies.
Plant Bee and Butterfly Plants
This is a must and there are many 100s of varieties out there from annuals, shrubs, perennials, fruit, vegetables and bulbs all of which can make a difference. Naturally, I am going to mention varieties we sell, in our Shrub ranges, Climbing Hydrangea, Jasmine officials, Potentilla Red Ace and in our Perennial ranges, Japanese Anemones, Lavender Rosea, Phlox David to name just a few.
To help you identify Bee Friendly plants we have introduced the RHS Perfect for Pollinators logo. Look for them throughout our catalogues. We are also looking more closely at the varieties we choose to sell in the future as we are conscious that as experts in plants we need to do our bit as well
Try Mini Bee and Bug Biomes and Hives
There are numerous mini-bio homes and hives convenient for even the smallest garden or patio that you can buy and they are great fun for children to take an interest in as well (please see opposite).
Join Save The Bee Campaigns, Trusts and Associations
Joining clubs and associations such as the ones below help contribute in different ways to saving our bees. Every little helps:
|Bumble Bee Conservation Trust||http://www.bumblebeeconservation.org|
|Save our Bees||http://www.saveourbees.org.uk|
|British Beekeepers Association||http://www.bbka.org.uk|
|Friends of The Earth The Bee Cause||http://www.foe.co.uk|
One Last Thought
Do we really want to miss out on that piece of warm toast lavishly spread with English Honey that sends the taste buds into orbit?
And it’s all natural and healthy, “in moderation of course”.