A hive of activity from charities, businesses, schools and communities across the country is taking place to celebrate this year’s Bees’ Needs Week (17-23 July), which encourages Brits to take simple steps to help protect our vital pollinators.
Bees, butterflies and other insects play a crucial role in our environment, and with 1,500 species of insects pollinating crops in the UK, they also contribute an estimated £600m to our economy.
But many struggle to find the habitats and food they need. By thinking about bees’ needs and taking simple actions to meet them, people across the UK can help give bees and pollinators the food and shelter they need to survive.
Minister for Pollinators and Biosecurity, Lord Gardiner, today hailed the successes of businesses and communities taking action to help our bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects and encouraged everyone across the country to join in, saying:
“Bees and other pollinators are not just a well-loved part of our cities, towns, villages and countryside—they are vital workers, driving our economy and boosting biodiversity. Each of us can do our bit to help them flourish.
“Bees’ Needs Week is all about celebrating those across the nation who work throughout the year to help our pollinators, and encouraging more people of all ages to join in by taking simple actions such as planting bee-friendly flowers in a window box, letting your garden grow wild or not disturbing insect nests.
“Bees’ Needs champions from across the country continue to do an excellent job and demonstrate just how we can all work together and do our bit to help our bees.”
Bees’ Needs Week forms a key part of Defra’s wider National Pollinator Strategy, launched in 2014 in partnership with charities, businesses and academic institutions. It encourages people to take five simple actions to help pollinators:
- grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
- let your garden grow wild
- cut grass less often
- don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots
- think carefully about whether to use pesticides
Supporting Bees’ Needs week for a third year, the Wildlife Trusts’ Director for England Steve Trotter said:
“The Wildlife Trusts believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife in their daily lives and bees are a fantastic way to make a start!
“By understanding more about what bees need to survive we can help our precious bees to thrive.”
Tim Lovett, Director of Communications at the British Beekeepers Association, said:
"People need to do three things to help honeybees and pollinators - Plant! Plant! Plant! They need simple flowers that will provide a good source of nectar and pollen throughout the summer."
Bees’ Needs Week runs from 17-23 July in partnership with organisations including Friends of the Earth, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
• For more information on Bees’ Needs Week, events, and how you can get involved, visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/bees-needs.
• Follow #BeesNeeds on twitter to find out more about the campaign and tweet your pollinator questions to charities, businesses and bee experts.
POLLINATORS IN NUMBERS
• 1,500 species of insects pollinate plants in the UK, including bumble bees, honey bees, solitary bees, hoverflies, wasps, flies, beetles, butterflies and moths.
• 25 species of bumble bee, 260 species of solitary bee, 1 honey bee species and hundreds of types of hoverflies, butterflies and moths live in the UK.
• 70 of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of food worldwide are pollinated by bees.
• £600m is the estimated value of insect pollination to crops due to increases in yield and quality of seeds and fruit.
• 5 simple actions the UK public can take to protect our vital pollinators: grow more flowers, shrubs and trees; leave patches of land to grow wild; cut grass less often; don't disturb insect nests and hibernation spots; and think carefully about using pesticides.