Five simple actions to help pollinators such as planting more bee-friendly flowers and cutting grass less often were promoted today to protect the vital contribution these insects make to our economy.
The five actions form part of a call to action launched by Environment Minister Lord de Mauley today at the Plant Life Conference, attended by HRH the Prince of Wales, to encourage people to do their bit to help insects such bees and butterflies.
Pollinators provide variety in our diets and some crops, like raspberries, apples and pears, particularly need insect pollination to produce good yields of high quality fruit.
Research has estimated the value of insect pollination to crops at around £400 million due to increases in yield and quality of seeds and fruit.
Lord de Mauley said:
“Pollinators such as bees are vital to the environment and the economy and I want to make sure that we do all we can to safeguard them.
“That’s why we are encouraging everyone to take a few simple actions and play their part in helping protect our bees and butterflies. We will be publishing a nationwide strategy for pollinators later this year to set out everything that we can do to help pollinators flourish.”
Whether people live in a town or in the countryside, they are being urged to help create or improve a habitat for pollinators in five simple ways:
1. Grow more nectar and pollen-rich flowers, shrubs and trees
2. Leave patches of land to grow wild
3. Cut grass less often
4. Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects
5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides
More information on how to go about putting these into action is available on the Bees' Needs website. Have a look at the video below to find out more about the problems facing bees and how you can help them
The five simple actions were drawn up with experts from Natural England, the Food and Environment Research Agency, conservation charities and the research community. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has played a key role as a partner in the development of these actions, and fully supports them. Our CEO Lucy Rothstein, who has spent time working on the development of the National Pollinator Strategy, says “This marks a huge step change in recognising the value bumblebees and other pollinators play in our daily lives and we are delighted to be collaborating with so many organisations to raise awareness and support action on the ground”.
There are at least 1500 species of insect pollinators in the UK. This includes 26 species of bumble bee, 260 solitary bees, 1 honey bee species and hundreds of types of hoverflies, butterflies and moths.
Defra will be publishing a national strategy for pollinators in the Autumn, following a public consultation earlier this year.