Grow a few weeds and help Britain’s bees

Date published: 17 May 2018

Wildlife and gardening experts are calling on the public to grow weeds to help Britain’s bees, as a new Friends of the Earth survey reveals that 57% of people would allow their garden to grow wilder - for example by letting weeds and wildflowers grow or allowing patches of grass to grow longer - if it could help bees and other wildlife. 

The call for wildlife-friendly gardening coincides with the start of Friends of the Earth’s Great British Bee Count (17 May-30 June), which is being supported by the gardening experts: Kate Bradbury, Val Bourne, Martin Cox and Alys Fowler.

Now in its fifth year, the Great British Bee Count – sponsored by Ecotalk, and supported by Buglife, the invertebrate conservation trust - enables people to find out more about the bees that visit our gardens, parks and countryside, and what they can do to help them. Using a fun, free and easy-to-use app thousands of verified sightings from this year’s Great British Bee Count will be submitted to the government’s Pollinator Monitoring Scheme [PoMS] – which will provide the first comprehensive nationwide health check for Britain’s wild bees and other pollinators.

Friends of the Earth Bee campaigner Emi Murphy said: “Join the Great British Bee Count and do your bit to help the nation’s bees.

“Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats bees face – so it’s the perfect excuse to get a bit lazy in the garden this summer and allow things to grow wild and play your part in protecting these crucial pollinators.

“Thousands of verified bee sightings from the Great British Bee Count will also contribute to the national Pollinator Monitoring Scheme – the nation’s first comprehensive health check of Britain’s bees and other pollinators.”

People are being urged to play their part in helping Britain’s bees and other wildlife by allowing their gardens to grow a bit wilder, with a few wildflowers or ‘weeds’ and long grass patches. The Great British Bee Count free app contains information on what people can do to help bees including bee spotting and a bee-friendly plant guide. According to a King’s Fund report around 87% of UK households have a garden and estimates suggest that private gardens cover an area about the size of one-fifth of Wales – lots of space to create bee-friendly paradises!

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity and Ecotalk, said: “Britain’s bees play a vital role in our environment and in pollinating the crops that feed us - but for the last 50 years they’ve been in decline, this is mostly due to the impact of industrial scale farming as well as a general loss of habitat - land for nature.

“The Great British Bee Count is a great initiative, and Ecotalk is delighted to support it. We’ve launched Ecotalk, Britain's green mobile phone service, powered by renewable energy with the proceeds being used to buy land and give it back to nature - to create new habitats for the bees and other creatures of Britain.”

The fifth annual Great British Bee Count launches Thursday (17 May).

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