This week it’s Defras (Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) Bees’ Needs Week, this is an annual event which this year runs from 9th to 17th July. They are working with various partners including Friends of the Earth (FoE) and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
They are calling for the public, gardeners, farmers, developers, land owners and local authorities to follow 5 steps.
- grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
- let your garden grow wild
- cut grass less often
- don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots
- think carefully about whether to use pesticides
Following these 5 steps we can all help give bees and pollinators the food and shelter they need to survive.
The Chester Bee Summit is one of the events noted on the official site.
Helen Tandy said “We have been encouraging the residents of Cheshire and Flintshire, farmers, land owners and the local authorities to come along. You don’t need to worry about the giant bees coming to Chester Zoo, they won’t sting, they are just volunteers from Chester & District Friends of the Earth. They will be escorting attendees to our Bee Summit, where you can ask your questions to our panel of experts. Come along and help with the 5 step plan”.
Sarah Bird, of Chester Zoo said, “Chester Zoo is excited to work with FoE to raise awareness of the serious threats facing our bees, and to stimulate local action to help our bees and other pollinators. Linking people with conservation organisations such as FoE is an important part of our Wildlife Connections campaign, and this Bee Summit is a great example of this.”
Manon Keir, Chester Zoo, Wildlife Connections Project Officer, says “Everyone can take small steps that could make all the difference to your local bees, whether you’ve got a big garden or a tiny window box. Making a bee home and growing flowers of all kinds are simple things that will help your local bees and other wildlife too!”
If you cant make it to our event, ask your question on twitter using #BeesNeeds.
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Helen Tandy Treasurer Chester & District Friends of the Earth 07885 777296
- Bees and other pollinating insects have been declining in recent decades, with losses affecting over 80% of our butterfly species, crashes in honey bee colonies and the extinction of two bumble bee species. 80% of plant species in Europe are insect pollinated, including crops and wild plants.
- Cheshire has around 100 bee species, compared to more than 260 species across the UK – though the UK has lost 20 species of bee since 1900.
- Regional specialties are the vernal bee, Colletes cunicularius and the square jawed sharp-tailed bee (Coelioxys mandibularis) both found on the Wirral.
- The Government recognises the economic value of the UK’s insect pollinators at £510 million per year. If farmers had to grow crops without pollination by bees it would cost UK farmers an extra £1.8 billion per year, raising food prices.
- The National Pollinator Strategy was announced by Lord de Mauley of Defra in June 2013. Its development is advised by the ‘Defra expert group’ and workshops with stakeholders. The Strategy was published March 2014.
- The Chester & District Bee Summit brings together local organisations and people with an interest in bees and their conservation. Keynote speakers include:
- Sandra Bell, Nature Campaigner, Friends of the Earth
- Tony Parker, Honorary Curator of Aculeate Hymenoptera (bees wasps and ants) , World Museum Liverpool
- Dr Phillip Putwain & Timothy Baxter, Botanist, University of Liverpool Botanic Gardens Ness
- For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. Be a Friend of the Earth – see things differently. For further information visit http://www.foe.co.uk