Guest blog by Sally Lancaster – Generation Zero Carbon Shropshire
You may have heard that bee populations are in decline, but why should we care about this? Everyone knows bees make honey but what else do they actually do to benefit us? It turns out they do a lot more than you may have thought…
What’s all the buzz about?
According to the WWF, pollinators like bees contribute £690 million per year to the UK economy as they play a critical role in food production. In fact, over three quarters of the world’s food production is partly dependent on bees. Despite their importance in both food production and maintaining our ecosystems as a whole, bee populations are in decline In the UK.
Climate change, habitat loss and use of pesticides are the main factors affecting the bees according to Friends of the Earth.
Traditional flower meadows and hedgerows have been replaced with modern intensive farming methods resulting in habitat loss. Even worse, many pesticides used by farmers can have a devastating impact on bees that come into contact with them. Exposure to these pesticides can reduce bees’ ability to reproduce and navigate. In addition, changes in local climate mean that wildflowers are no longer appearing in the same places at the same times. Hence not being pollinated by bees that would normally frequent them.
Natural not neat
Currently, there is an ongoing trend for ‘perfect’ gardens with some people even going as far as replacing their natural lawn with artificial grass. Even those of us who have natural grass will no doubt get the lawnmower out on a regular basis. However, when we cut down those wild daisies, dandelions and buttercups, we are removing bee-friendly plants and making our gardens into a sterile environment that does not encourage pollinators to visit.
We need to learn to love nature not neatness! I have been pleased to recently see verges of roads and pathways in my local area have been left to grow wild. Forming a perfect habitat for the bees and other pollinators.
If we can begin to appreciate the beauty of letting nature grow wild both in our gardens and local area, we can help support our ecosystems and encourage more biodiversity in the UK.
Let’s welcome the bees back to Shropshire!
There is mass habitat destruction from ever-increasing new construction projects and land clearance for intensive farming. Gardens are now becoming a more and more important habitat for the UK’s bee populations.