Counting bees

It was #BeesNeeds week last week and various wildlife organisations encouraged people in Cheshire to spare an hour to go out and count the bees. This was to spread the awareness of bees and how important they are to us and to survey their numbers.

As usual the weather did nothing but rain and rain until finally just as the week ended there was dry weather and a hint of sunshine on the horizon.

I ran out of the door excitedly with my camera, ID chart, notebook and pen. Funnily enough though, I didn’t make it much passed the front door. I have various different types of lavender and they were alive with the sounds of buzzing bees.

I got my camping chair out and sat in front of each lavender bush and started to count.

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In the hour I managed to count a total of 35 bees.

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5 masonry bees

12 garden bumblebees

17 carder bees

1 leafcutter bee

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I hadn’t realised how many different types of bees there were and it was hard to recognise them at first. They were busily buzzing around each flower and it was hard to keep track of them and get a closer look.

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There are apparently 24 species of bumblebee, 225 species of solitary bee and the honey bee in Britain.

Bees are fantastic pollinators but there are also hoverflies, butterflies, moths and other bugs that help to pollinate our flowers and the food that we eat.

So, how can you help the bees and other pollinators?

  • Sow wildflowers or plant flowers that attract pollinators such as foxgloves and lavender. Or, how about leaving those dandelions and clovers in the lawn.
  • Build a bug house. It doesn’t matter whether it is a branch/log with holes drilled in it or a big bug mansion. There will be a bug or bee that will happily live in it.
  • Try to be organic and not use pesticides or other chemicals in your garden.
  • Place a small basin or bird bath near the flowers with fresh water in it. Make sure you put stones inside so that the bees and flies can land safely without fear of falling in the water.
  • Share your sightings with local wildlife recording websites/apps so as to get an idea of the bee/insect population in your area.

Take time out and marvel at these busy little creatures. They do such an important job and we should look after them.

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