The Great British Bee Count

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Gardeners are being urged to see how bee-friendly their garden or allotment is by taking part in the Great British Bee Count in 2015.

Organised by Friends of the Earth, Buglife and Waitrose, the Great British Bee Count will take place throughout May from the 1st to the 31st and aims to build on the huge success of last year’s inaugural event when a staggering 23,000 people took part and the count was featured on BBC’s Springwatch.

This year’s event promises to be even more successful and easier to take part, with exciting new features including a free smartphone app.

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 are being encouraged to 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; tubular-shaped flowers, like lupins and foxgloves which provide good landing places for bees to feed; planting herb gardens to feed both bees and ourselves with plants such as rosemary, chives and thyme.

Gardeners are also encouraged to avoid using pesticides which have been linked to the decline in our bees.

Gardeners can also make a bee-hotel to encourage pollinators. You can find out how to do this by logging onto: http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/bee_cause_make_hotel_action_35992

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Friends of the Earth Nature Campaigner Sandra Bell comments: “Discover how bee-friendly your garden is by taking part in the Great British Bee Count 2015 – its 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.

Increasingly, our gardens are becoming key habitats for bees as development pressure eats into urban green space,” says Paul Hetherington, Director of Communications, Buglife. “The Great British Bee Count is a fun way to engage in the challenge of making our environment more pollinator friendly.

Head of Sustainability at Waitrose, Quentin Clark explained that Waitrose is committed to protecting and enhancing pollinators like bees – through their own agricultural policies, through funding research, and through initiatives such as our work to provide schools with ‘Grow and Sell’ kits containing bee-friendly seeds.

We have been part of the work with Defra on the development of the National Pollinator Strategy and this summer will see the promotion of pollinator friendly plants in our shops as part of the Bees’ Needs Campaign,” says Quentin. “Our partners take real pride in supporting the environment and we are delighted to support this year’s Great British Bee Count with Friends of the Earth.”

side-Step-1---GBBC15---App---Main-MenuPhotography will play a big part in this year’s count with participants being encouraged to upload pictures of any bees they see.

The data collected will be used by experts investigating the plight of bees and the steps needed to help them.

More than 20 UK bee species are already extinct and about a quarter of the remaining 267 species are at risk. For more information on the Great British Bee Count including how to take part click on http://www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk

Lookout for the free app and get ready for the Great Bee Count 2015. The app is available on IOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. You can download the app using this link: www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk

 

 

Photo credits: ©Friends of the Earth

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