May hosts two great initiatives to help protect the UK’s precious Bee and pollinator populations. Here, we take a look at World Bee Day and No Mow May and provide some helpful hints for how you can get involved.
World Bee Day
World Bee Day falls on May 20th. The campaign was the brainchild of the obscure Beekeepers Association of Slovenia and adopted by the United Nations in 2017 as a day to raise awareness about the importance of Bees. (1) The Earthwatch institute declared Bees the most important living beings on the planet! (2) It’s easy to see why when 35% of the world’s crops rely on the little critters for pollination. (3)
Wild Flowers are First Food for Bees
In under a century the UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows. (4) This habitat loss coupled with other factors such as over use of pesticides is having a devastating impact on the UK’s Bee population. Around 13 of the UK’s bee species are extinct and 35 others are under threat of extinction. (5)
No Mow May for the Bees
No Mow May was introduced in 2019 by the conservation charity Plantlife to challenge the Nation to lock away its lawn mowers for the month of May and allow wildflowers to bloom.
The National Trust says:
“Changing your mowing routine and allowing plants to flower can create enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators. You’re also more likely to spot a greater variety of flowers popping up in your garden”. (6)
Every Flower Counts
Left to grow, our gardens become an important source of food and shelter for Bees and other beneficial insects. Once No mow May is over, the charity Plantlife conducts a nationwide survey where participants are invited to count the number of wildflowers in a random square meter of their lawns. The survey findings provide important information about the state of the UK’s wildflower, Bees and pollinators populations such as quantifying the amount of nectar being produced by the nation's garden flowers and how many bees can be supported. (7)
What you can do
As well as participating in No Mow May and the British Lawn’s Survey here are some other great ways to help protect our Bees.
There are currently petitions by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace calling on the government to ban bee harming pesticides. Signing and sharing these is a quick and easy way to show your support.
Plant Bee Friendly Flowers
We have previously discussed the company Seedball who make sowing simple. They are on a mission to improve the biodiversity of our green spaces and have a wide variety of bee friendly seed mixes. Just throw them on the soil, water and enjoy the results!
Build a Bee Hotel
A lot of shop bought bee hotels are not fit for purpose and can actually be damaging to bees. They are mass produced to be compact and easy to transport therefore they often lack the correct design requirements to safely house bees and their larvae. (8) Making your own bee hotels can be a much better option. It’s a fun activity to do with the children and helps them learn and appreciate the importance of bees. There are lots of tutorial videos out there to help get you started.
A really good video can be found here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9-gJuDgKnU)
If you get the bug for No Mow May you can continue to rewild your lawn all summer with #LetItBloomJune and #KneeHighJuly. You may be amazed what grows and the Bees will love you for it.Notes:
- IPBS-20 May declared World Bee Day
- ScienceTimes.Com-Bees declared to be the most important living being on Earth
- Food and Agriculture organisation of the United Nations-The importance of Bees and other pollinators
- PlantLife.Org- Saving Meadows
- Friends of the Earth- 10 easy ways to help the Bees
- National Trust-Take Part in the No Mow May challenge
- Plantlife.org-No Mow May-How to get 10 times more bees on your lockdown lawn
- Colin Purrington-Horrors of mass produced Bees houses