Last spring we saw lots in the media regarding our UK decline of bumblebee species. Many of which have been declining for a number of years. The main reason for this is the loss of their natural habitat through urbanisation and a steep incline in intensive use of agricultural pesticides. Historically, large proportions of our countryside was not cultivated due to it not being feasible or profitable for farm use. However improvements in farm machinery and demands from our ever growing population meant that it became possible to cultivate a lot of previously unused land.
‘It has been estimated that 97% of the UK’s flower-rich traditional grasslands have been lost since start of the 20th century. As all bumblebees rely entirely on flowers for food, this is clearly a problem’.
Some species of bumblebee are able to collect nectar and pollen from a large range of plants, including those found in gardens, this is sustaining the more common species, for now. However, sadly this is not the case for the majority of species. They are more selective in their foraging habits, relying on wildflowers and specific habitats. They also often have specific nesting requirement that are not easily replicated in a garden setting.
Here at Bakker, we have recognised that the decline in bees is a huge problem that we, as a nation face and have developed a ‘bee hotel’ taking into account the habitual needs of the bumblebee. The little bee hotel is the perfect place for lots of different types of them to nest. Females make tiny hives in a hollow reed or bamboo and leave an egg with some pollen and nectar for the larva when it hatches.
The best place to hang the bee hotel, is in a sunny, south facing spot, away from predators. You can also plant many flowers to help out our stripy friends, here is a great easy options that will not only help out the bees, it will attact butterflies too – Wild seed mat.