Save The Bees: How You And Your Children Can Help British Pollinators

Guest Post by my friend David Wood. The decline of pollinators in the UK and worldwide is of real concern, potentially leading to a pollination crisis and affecting flowering plants and crop yields. This is in part because the last 100 years has seen a 97% reduction in our flower rich meadows. This post shares what you can do to help support pollinators.

A bee in a flower covered in pollen
How to help bees and other pollinators

How To Support British Pollinators At Home

Five things you can do to help:

1. Let your grass grow 

One of the best things you can do to help bees, and other pollinators too, is to grow more flowering plants, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to take part in No Mow May - simply letting your grass go unmown for the month will benefit wildlife, tackle pollution and can even lock away carbon below ground. It doesn’t matter the size of grass that you have, it will all help.

2. Plant more plants 

As well as just leaving your grass to grow, you may wish to actively grow some plants. What are the best plants to grow? Check this list here, reproduced from the book The Garden Jungle, by Dave Goulson (with his permission). Dave Goulson is Professor of Biology at the University of Sussex, specialising in bee ecology, and the list are Professor Goulson’s favourite plants for pollinators and birds. This list also has some words of caution - plants bought from chain garden stores are often laced with insecticides. Either buy from an organic supplier or plant from seed. Insecticides hang around for a terribly long time, and it would be a shame to kill the insects you intend to help. Even if you don’t have a garden, a window box with a plant or two will really help the pollinators that stop by!

3. Provide more habitats 

Plants provide shelter and homes for many creatures, but you can add to the available shelter by making a bee hotel. This can be a fun thing to make with children, and ff you’re really keen, you can also help by taking part in the Big Bee Hotel Experiment by the wildlife charity Buzz Club - you simply need internet access and to take monthly photos of your hotel. Another project from Buzz Club is to make a hoverfly lagoon, best started in May. Much of the attention and research has been around pollinators focuses on bees, but other pollinators are similarly important and help enhance the pollination services that our crops and plants receive. This project focuses on hoverflies - an often overlooked, yet vital part of our wild environment. This can also be a fun project for older children to get involved with too.

4. Make a splash

Another habit you could add to your garden is a pond - these don’t need to be big, if you’re pushed for a space a mini pond with something as small as an old washing up bowl can still make big benefits for your local wildlife, and this can be another fun thing to make with children. The UK has lost over 90% of its wetland habitat over the last 500 years. Having a pond of any size in your garden helps to provide more living space for aquatic organisms.

5. Make compost 

Compost has a number of benefits - not only does it provide habitats, increasing your garden’s biodiversity, it also can provide you with compost for your garden, and offers you a way to put kitchen scraps to good use.

The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world, and it can be easy to get despondent about the state of things. Even just one of the above steps will make a big difference, and as well as the Big Bee Hotel Experiment, there are a lot of citizen science apps you can get to monitor the wildlife in your garden. Tracking the wildlife will let you see the results of the efforts you’ve put in, but it will also help ecologists get a better understanding of the UK’s wildlife.

No comments

Thanks for your comment (unless it's spam in which case, why?)