Posted 5th May 2015
Gardeners are being urged to see how bee-friendly their garden or allotment is by taking part in the Great British Bee Count 2015
Organised by Friends of the Earth, Buglife and Waitrose, the Great British Bee Count, which is taking place throughout May (1st to 31st), aims to build on the huge success of last year’s inaugural event.
Gardeners are also being encouraged to take easy steps to make their gardens more bee-friendly this spring and help provide crucial habitats for our threatened pollinators.
Allotments (with an average of 12 bees spotted per count) and gardens (an average of eight) were two of the top three most popular habitats in last year’s bee count – with the countryside (with an average of 10 per count) being the third.
A staggering 23,000 people took part in the bee count last year – which featured on BBC’s Springwatch – spotting more than 830,000 bees. This year’s event promises to be even better and easier to take part in, with lots of exciting new features.
As bee populations continue to decline a national picture is needed to help inform scientists and government policy. The Great British Bee Count aims to provide an annual picture of national bee populations while also raising awareness of bee diversity.
Gardeners can take simple steps to make their gardens and allotments more attractive to bees. Top bee-friendly garden tips include:
- Planting nectar and pollen rich flowers:
- Purple flowers: Bees see purple better than any other colour, so fill your garden with plants like lavender, bugles and borage.
- Tubular-shaped flowers: Tubular-shaped flowers, like lupins and foxgloves, provide a good landing place for bees to feed.
- Herbs: Feed yourself and the bees too with a herb garden that includes plants such as rosemary, chives and thyme.
- Bees love dandelions and clover – so why not allow some to grow on your lawn?
- Make your own bee hotel to attract pollinators: http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/bee_cause_make_hotel_action_35992
- Provide a clean source of water with a shallow bowl with a few pebbles for bees to land on.
- Avoid using pesticides. They have been linked to the decline in our bees.
Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner, Sandra Bell, said: 'Discover how bee-friendly your garden is by taking part in the Great British Bee Count 2015 – it’s fun, informative and easy to take part.
'Bees are the gardener’s friend, pollinating their fruit and flowers. With a little effort, more of our gardens and allotments could become crucial havens for these under-threat pollinators.'
Bee expert Professor Dave Goulson, of the University of Sussex, said: 'It is fantastic that the Great British Bee Count got 23,000 people out looking at our wild bees last year, let’s hope for even more in 2015. The idea of including photo uploads this year is really important as it will allow the records to be checked by experts.'
The data can be easily recorded via the free smartphone app or online. New this year you can also submit photos of the bees you spot to allow experts to verify the species. To find out more about the event, including how to take part and how to access the brilliant new identification guide, visit www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk.