Gardens across Britain could soon become more honey bee friendly than ever. And this may be partly due to the lead provided by UK caravan, camping and holiday parks.
That’s the view of parks wildlife advisor Rufus Bellamy who is helping to head a nationwide bee-saving initiative with the British Beekeepers Association.
Imaginative measures to help bees
Rufus says that many measures taken by parks to help bees flourish can be adopted by families inspired by what they see on holiday.
Ideas capable of finding their way back home include the planting of high-nectar bearing blooms. The reduced use of garden chemicals, and the siting of hives also have a role to play.
According to Rufus, parks report guests asking for advice on what they can do for the bee at home.
Honey bee pledge
The parks concerned are among the 550-plus which belong to the David BellamyConservation Award Scheme, pioneered by Rufus’s world-famous botanist father.
Many of these parks have taken the “honey bee pledge” after it was introduced in 2015, and the numbers continue to blossom. Says Rufus: “Joining the pledge gives the parks access to practical help in turning their grounds into honey bee sanctuaries. And that’s just what is happening up and down the country,” he said.
“They are introducing more flowering plants which provide valuable nectar and pollen in the spring and autumn – and which also benefit other pollinators such as butterflies. As part of their honey bee pledge, parks are also providing information so that holiday guests can take their own bee-saving steps, and many say there’s been a keen uptake.
He continued; “Flowers such as honeysuckle, foxgloves and heather make fantastic additions to gardens, and bees love them. Some parks are even offering bee-friendly seed mixtures to give guests a head start. An increasing number of parks now stock delicious honey from their own hives. This is also an option for many families if they contact their local Beekeepers Association branch.”
Glamping pods for bees
Rufus added; “Other workable ideas in most town or city gardens include providing “glamping pods”. These are simply logs with small tunnels drilled through them, providing sanctuary for species such as the endangered solitary bee.
Experts blame the decline of foraging flowers and nesting habitats for the fall in bee numbers. Yet every garden can play its part in helping.”
More parks taking the pledge will be named when the 2016 David Bellamy Conservation Awards are announced in September.