Manchester Friends of the Earth is urging local people to play their part in helping Britain’s under-threat bees by creating pollinator-friendly gardens, schools and neighbourhoods.
Volunteers from the environmental group are running a bee-friendly planting session at the Manchester Museum Plants and Us Big Saturday event, 11am – 4pm, Saturday 20th May.
The local environment organisation is also calling on people to find out how bee-friendly their gardens and other local spaces are by taking part in this year’s Great British Bee Count, which starts on 19 May and runs until 20 June 2017.
Now in its fourth year, the Great British Bee Count uses a fun, FREE and easy-to-use app to identify and find out more about how we can help some of the amazing bees that we share our towns and countryside with. The app can be downloaded at: www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk
Over fifteen thousand people took part in last year’s Great British Bee Count, organised by Friends of the Earth, with support from Buglife and sponsorship from Waitrose.
Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats Britain’s bees face, which is why people are being urged to play their part by creating bee-friendly habitats.
Catherine Thomson, nature campaigner with Manchester Friends of the Earth said:
“Britain’s bees are crucial for pollinating our crops and garden plants – but sadly they are under threat from a variety of sources including intensive farming, habitat loss and climate change
“Greater Manchester residents can help these important and fascinating insects by creating pollinator-friendly gardens, schools and other open spaces.
“By taking part in this year’s Great British Bee Count, with the free and easy-to use app, you can find out more about these beautiful creatures.”
Kate Bradbury, wildlife gardening expert and author of The Wildlife Gardener said:
“Getting to know bees is one of the most rewarding experiences. From the big buzzy bumbles to red mason and leaf cutter bees, to tiny things that you’d never see if you didn’t stop to look, there’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered. And, by taking a few simple measure, you can help these vital pollinators too.”
Simple tips for creating bee-friendly spaces:
* Grow bee-friendly plants
Bees visit plants for their nectar and pollen. Bees see purple and blue better than other colours. They’ll use their senses to find other colours such as white apple blossom. Different bee species prefer different flower shapes, so aim for a range from tubular-shaped flowers like snapdragon and wallflower, to open-headed flowers like yarrow and verbena. It’s not just flowers like these that bees love – try shrubs, herbs and fruit and veg (beans, peas, peppers, onions) too. Spring and autumn flowering bulbs are also great.
* Short of space?
Even if you don’t have a garden or much space, a few plants in a window box or pots will all help bees. Try lavender, heathers, nasturtiums, sunflowers and bulbs like crocuses. Herbs are great too for containers.
* Learn to love a few weeds
If you have a lawn, leave some dandelions and clover to flower for the bees. A ‘messy corner’ with a pile of old wood and leaves will help bees and bring other wildlife too
* Avoid using pesticides
Help wildlife thrive by putting away the chemical pesticides, especially those containing bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides.