It’s Bees Needs Week! This annual event is organised by the Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as part of England’s National Pollinator Strategy. Various events are going on around the country to celebrate and promote what bees and other pollinators do for us. The event was launched in Carnaby Street, which has been renamed Carnabee Street for the week. Visitors can visit a pop-up ‘hive’ at 3 Carnaby Street to find out more about our furry little friends.
Pollinators, such as bees, are vital to the growth of our food crops. According to the charity Buglife, it is estimated that 84% of EU crops (valued at £12.6 billion) and 80% of wildflowers rely on insect pollination The insects forage for food in the flowers and, in the process, transfer pollen from one flower to another (pollination), enabling fertilisation to take place. Without fertilisation these plants would not be able to set seed or produce fruit. The ecosystem services provided by these little creatures is often overlooked.
The National Pollinator Strategy aims to build on our understanding of the contribution of pollinators to our food supply and to prevent declines in pollinator populations. There are 5 simple actions that many of us can take to help prevent pollinator declines:
- Cut grass less often – daisies and dandelions are great sources of pollens and nectar.
- Let your garden grow wild – or at least have a wild area within your garden. How about a mini wildflower meadow?
- Don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots
- Think carefully about whether to use pesticides
- Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
Our Fair to Nature farmers know the importance of pollinators to the success of their crops and encourage them on to their farms by planting areas of pollen and nectar rich wildflowers, like the one below.