Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny Unsplash Bees Needs Week

What are the simple actions that you can take this year to protect our pollinators?

Bees’ Needs Week got underway today (Monday 13 July 2020) to highlight what everyone can be doing at home to care for pollinators.

Bees and other pollinators play a crucial role in food production and agriculture. They contribute the equivalent of over £500 million a year to UK agriculture and food production, by improving crop quality and quantity. And they are also vital to our wider, natural ecosystems.

The Coronavirus pandemic has provided an opportunity for being in nature. According to Natural England’s People and Nature Survey for England, 60% of adults in England said that they had spent time outside in green and natural spaces in the previous two weeks.

These spaces are vital homes for our insect pollinators, of which there are thousands of species in the UK, including moths and butterflies as well as our beloved honeybees, bumblebees and many solitary bees.

However, their populations are under threat from risks such as habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, pests and disease, climate change and pesticide use. Defra Minister for pollinators, Rebecca Pow, said:

“This year, we have seen an increased appreciation for nature in England in response to the Coronavirus pandemic with the nation building back greener.

“Bees’ Needs Week is about celebrating the fact that everyone can get involved by leaving patches of garden to grow wild, growing more flowers, cutting grass less, not disturbing insect nests, and carefully considering how we use pesticides.”

Five simple actions to help pollinators

Whether you are a farmer, a gardener, or a land manager, there is something you can do to help support our valuable insect pollinators.

  1. Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
  2. Let your garden grow wild
  3. Cut your grass less often
  4. Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots
  5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

Another way people can help is by monitoring your local bee and pollinator populations. Spend 10 minutes in the sun to count insects for the UK’s Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS), and get involved on social media using #beesneeds.