Dorset gardeners are being urged to help save Britain’s wild bees this summer. Many of the 250 bee species in the UK have declined massively in the last 50 years, with bumble bees among the hardest hit. Bees are not only one of the first welcome signs of spring, but also essential for the pollination of plants and the sign of a healthy garden.
Joy Wallis, Community Conservation Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Gardeners can make a huge difference to the plight of our bees. The most important thing you can do to help them is to ban the use of any chemicals in your garden. Bees will scavenge throughout the garden, visiting flowering plants, and so they are particularly prone to the accumulation of any chemical residues.”
Dorset Wildlife Trust is hoping that this year’s Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition will encourage gardeners to provide vital habitat for bees and other insects. Joy added: “With the combined efforts of gardeners across the county, we can provide the good habitat that bees so desperately need, so your contribution is hugely important. What’s more, gardeners have everything to gain from helping bees, leading to a more productive garden literally buzzing with life ranging from tiny solitary bees to furry bumble bees.”
The Wildlife Friendly Garden Competition, sponsored by The Gardens Group, has categories for all sizes of garden, including balconies and patios, with a host of prizes for wildlife-loving gardeners and exclusive plaques for the winners. Enter until 9th May at www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wgc or ring 01305 264620.
Top tips to help bees:
• Aim for flowers all year native plants are best for providing pollen and nectar.
• Allow some daisies and wild vetches such as bird’s foot trefoil and red clover in your lawn.
• Smaller bees like single, open or flat-headed flowers such as scabious and evening primrose.
• Plant herbs such as catmint, lavender or comfrey beside your vegetables to help pollination.
• Bees need water so even the smallest pond will help them.
• Dead wood in sunlight, the earth of flowerbeds, lawns, gravel drives and holes in your masonry and sheds are all good habitats for solitary bees.
• Nesting places for solitary bees include canes, stems or holes drilled in a log.
• Partly buried upturned flowerpots filled with straw in a shed or greenhouse make a good winter home for bumble bee queens.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Nicky Hoar at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
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The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) www.wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas