It’s not too late to be doing something for pollinators this summer.
There’s still a great deal of buzzing and flapping going on right now across the AONB but it’s not as widespread as we’ve been used to seeing and for some of our Cornish bees the habitats just aren’t there for them anymore, as the intensification of agriculture has squeezed them into just the remotest corners of our county.
There is some hope though that we can check this decline, but we’ve all got to put a shift in if we’re to start turning back the clock.
The National Pollinator Strategy, released by DEFRA at the end of 2014 is seeking over the next 10 years to build a solid foundation to bring about the best possible conditions for bees and other insects to flourish. It’s a shared plan of action and so relies on a lot of forces to come together but it does recognise the threats facing some of our pollinators and that actions must be immediate to have a lasting impact. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-pollinator-strategy-for-bees-and-other-pollinators-in-england
We’ll also be looking to do our bit for pollinators and we’re starting to sketch out some project plans that we hope will reconnect bees with our AONB landscapes next year. We’re talking with some of the nation’s leading academics on pollinators as well as the DIY ecologists whose painstaking work in-the-field has helped build up some important distribution maps for bee recordings in the County.
It’s often the little things that can end up counting the most though and where better to make a start but our own greenspaces and backyards. Many people are trying to create wildflower havens in their gardens and if you’ve not tried this yet you can start planning for next year now. There’s plenty of wild flower mixes you can buy online ready for sowing but it’s also fun to collect some seeds from the wild flowers that are already established in our meadows and hedgerows. Over the next weeks, you could be collecting seeds from bee favourites like lupins, foxgloves and knapweed, which could bring new bursts of colour into your greenspace next year. For useful advice on how to collect these seeds and when to sow them you can visit this page of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website https://bumblebeeconservation.org/news/anthonys-blog/seed-collecting
You can also make sure your garden is offering a housing solution for solitary bees too; some of the later on-the-wing species, such as leaf cutter bees would find tubes of dead plant stems attractive for nesting, whilst other species may still be looking to make use of dead wood piles or holes and cracks in bricks. It’s easy to make your own bee houses by bundling together chopped bamboo canes and hold them in place with twine or wire. You could also drill different sized holes into bricks or wood blocks. There's some helpful advice from the RSPB on how to do these things click here:
If you don’t own a drill then you could opt for an off the shelf alternative such as the Cornish produced ‘Bee Bricks’ by Perranporth based Green and Blue https://greenandblue.co.uk/product/bee-brick/, which we’ve seen being used to great effect.
Whatever you choose to do, please do something, as we can’t stand back and let nature work it out for itself on this issue.