Supporting pollinators at home
There are around 20,000 species of bee globally, only one of those is the European honeybee - Apis Mellifera. They come in many colours and only a few species make honey, however most bees are excellent pollinators. Did you know that around 500 species of bee have no sting at all.
The intensification of agriculture in recent times has significantly disrupted flower meadows in our countryside resulting in a decline in bee populations. The use of pesticides has also had a significant impact given the toxic effects of Neonicotinoid which essentially attacks the nerve cells of insects, compromising their motor functions and often killing them off prematurely.
In the UK alone we've lost 18 species of solitary bee and two species of bumblebee in the 20th century. An extremely sad statistic, not least given our reliance on pollinators to provide food that's critical to our survival. We rely so much on their actions that the value of a bee’s pollination services to agriculture is estimated at £50-70 billion every year globally.
Restoring bee populations will require a concerted effort and it’s not going to be easy. The best way to reverse the decline is to put flowers back, the meadows are so fragmented that the impacts are being felt across every single insect species. We also need to reduce chemical pollution by using pesticides responsibly, protect bees from imported diseases, and take targeted personal action to bring endangered species of bees back from the brink.
You can start supporting today by heading outside and planting bee friendly flowers. You can also make a bee hotel using hollow stems like bamboo, twigs and string. Simply tie together small lengths of bamboo/twigs and put them in a hedge or bush to provide a home for bees and other insects.
No matter your DIY expertise, or available garden space, there’s a bug hotel option for you in the images that follow. You will up-cycle old waste while supporting wildlife - a true win win.