How to help bumblebees

To conserve and restore our remaining bumblebee and insect populations to their past abundance, we all need to think about conservation on a landscape scale.

Bumblebee nests can contain anywhere between 50 and 400 sterile workers, each travelling around 1 km from the colony in search of flowers. Each nest needs many hectares of suitable flower-rich habitat, so to support a healthy population of bumblebees there is a need to manage large areas of land sympathetically.

The solution is simple: we need to create a mosaic of suitable flower-rich habitat across the whole of Sussex. Bumblebees need small patches of wildflowers here and there in field corners, margins, gardens, waste ground, roadside verges and motorway embankments.

We need to encourage farmers to adopt appropriate agri-environment schemes. These actually benefit farmers by improving crop yields at the same time as enriching the countryside.

  • Support the replanting of hedgerows and the recreation of hay meadows and flower-rich grasslands
  • Use wildflowers and traditional cottage-garden plants in gardens nationwide
  • Manage roadside verges and motorway embankments to encourage wild flowers.

Please do your bit and plant some bumblebee friendly flowers in your outdoor space.

How to be bee-friendly in gardens:

  • It has been estimated that a Buff-tailed Bumblebee queen may have to visit as many as 6,000 flowers per day to collect enough nectar to maintain the heat needed to brood her eggs when she first starts her nest
  • The best gardens provide a range of nectar and pollen-rich flowers which bloom from spring through until late summer - check out our flower menu for some planting ideas
  • Gardens can also provide nesting sites. Why not leave a pile of leaves and grass in a sunny corner?

Posted in: Bees on 16 April 2015

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