CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Surrey Life today CLICK HERE

Bee Inspired!

PUBLISHED: 01:16 23 July 2012 | UPDATED: 22:04 21 February 2013

Bee Inspired!

Bee Inspired!

Albert Einstein said that if bees were to become extinct then the extinction of the human race would follow within four years. Gwent Wildlife Trust conservation officer Gabrielle Horup looks at what can be done to halt bees' decline...


Bee inspired

Albert Einstein said that if bees were to become extinct then the extinction of the human race would follow within four years. Gwent Wildlife Trust conservation officer Gabrielle Horup looks at what can be done to halt the decline of our native bees.

THIS article is not all doom and gloom. However, I think Einstein had a good point. Bees are incredibly important to our everyday life in a whole host of ways, so here I will look at why we need to conserve, in particularly, the bumblebee, consider threats to their future, and show what you can do to help.

Why are bees so valuble? well, for starters, they are one of our most important pollinators. It is said that if bees were to disappear the cost to the UK economy could be up to 440 million per year. Bees visit flowering plants as they collect nectar and pollen. While doing this they perform a vital function of transferring pollen from plant to plant, enabling plants to reproduce.

Bumblebees are large, furry critters who mind their own business, and are generally regarded as friendly and helpful. Without going into too much of the science, they belong to a very large family of bees that includes honey bees, stingless bees, carpenter bees, cuckoo bees, the list goes on

In Britain there are 24 species of bumblebee, six of which are cuckoo bumblebees. They live in social groups, and their colonies are often no bigger than 200 workers. Cuckoo bumblebees dont build their own nest but take over another established nest. They do this by stinging to death the queen of their target colony. Sounds dramatic, but they are, too, a vital part of a functioning ecosystem.

Sadly, three bumblebee species are already believed to be extinct in the UK, and a number of others are in danger. This includes the shrill carder bee, once common and widespread, however now restricted to a few regions with the Gwent Levels acting as a major stronghold.

Bumblebees have undergone a massive decline since the 1950s in fact they have experienced one of the most severe declines of any group of wildlife. This is mainly due to a loss of suitable flower-rich habitat. Historically there were large areas of flower-rich grasslands in the UK. Sadly, today, these are a shadow of their former selves and have reduced by more than 97%. Furthermore, our urban green spaces are often highly manicured with little consideration given to wildlife. Unfortunately, many of the exotic plants we buy from garden centres do not support our native fauna. Hedgerows have been ripped out and verges reduced as we widen roads it is clear why there are not enough flower-rich habitats to support bumblebees.

So what can we do to help? Gwent Wildlife Trust is working hard to raise awareness and provide bumblebees in our area. We have habitat for bumblebees in our area. We have recently launched a two-year project aimed at reversing the decline of the shrill carder bee population locally. With the help of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and generous support from funders, we are working with landowners to create and enhance wildlife havens to help expand the shrill carder bees' population.

There are ways that you can help, too. This ranges from planting native herbs in your garden, through to providing artificial nest sites such as bug and bee hotels. We need to encourage managers of urban green spaces to review planting plans with the aim of introducing wilder places to our parks. Planners and developers can help by recognising the value of less manicured landscapes within town planning.

It is currently in vogue for new development to take place on brownfield sites. However it is a misconception that these sites are always the best option for development. Brownfield sites can be extremely wildlife-rich, sometimes more so than the countryside. Its possible to cater for people and wildlife in brownfield development by including features such as green roofs which provide a habitat for wildlife, while helping with issues such as flood control. Many farmers are now doing their bit and receive subsidies to carry out wildlife-friendly farming practices. We need to remind the politicians that this is indeed an effective way of spending taxpayers money.

Here we end our whistle-stop tour of the trials and tribulations facing our native bumblebees. Please do your bit to support our furry friends by following some of the tips Ive mentioned. And remember, we need bees human civilisation depends on them.

For more information contact Gwent Wildlife Trust: 01600 740600 or visit www.gwentwildlife.org

Bee inspired

Albert Einstein said that if bees were to become extinct then the extinction of the human race would follow within four years. Gwent Wildlife Trust conservation officer Gabrielle Horup looks at what can be done to halt the decline of our native bees.


This article is not all doom and gloom. However, I think Einstein had a good point. Bees are incredibly important to our everyday life in a whole host of ways, so here I will look at why we need to conserve, in particularly, the bumblebee, consider threats to their future, and show what you can do to help.


Why are bees so valuble? well, for starters, they are one of our most important pollinators. It is said that if bees were to disappear the cost to the UK economy could be up to 440 million per year. Bees visit flowering plants as they collect nectar and pollen. While doing this they perform a vital function of transferring pollen from plant to plant, enabling plants to reproduce.


Bumblebees are large, furry critters who mind their own business, and are generally regarded as friendly and helpful. Without going into too much of the science, they belong to a very large family of bees that includes honey bees, stingless bees, carpenter bees, cuckoo bees, the list goes on

In Britain there are 24 species of bumblebee, six of which are cuckoo bumblebees. They live in social groups, and their colonies are often no bigger than 200 workers. Cuckoo bumblebees dont build their own nest but take over another established nest. They do this by stinging to death the queen of their target colony. Sounds dramatic, but they are, too, a vital part of a functioning ecosystem.


Sadly, three bumblebee species are already believed to be extinct in the UK, and a number of others are in danger. This includes the shrill carder bee, once common and widespread, however now restricted to a few regions with the Gwent Levels acting as a major stronghold.


Bumblebees have undergone a massive decline since the 1950s in fact they have experienced one of the most severe declines of any group of wildlife. This is mainly due to a loss of suitable flower-rich habitat.

Historically there were large areas of flower-rich grasslands in the UK. Sadly, today, these are a shadow of their former selves and have reduced by more than 97%. Furthermore, our urban green spaces are often highly manicured with little consideration given to wildlife. Unfortunately, many of the exotic plants we buy from garden centres do not support our native fauna. Hedgerows have been ripped out and verges reduced as we widen roads it is clear why there are not enough flower-rich habitats to support bumblebees.


So what can we do to help? Gwent Wildlife Trust is working hard to raise awareness and provide bumblebees in our area. We have habitat for bumblebees in our area. We have recently launched a two-year project aimed at reversing the decline of the shrill carder bee population locally. With the help of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, and generous support from funders, we are working with landowners to create and enhance wildlife havens to help expand the shrill carder bees' population.


There are ways that you can help, too. This ranges from planting native herbs in your garden, through to providing artificial nest sites such as bug and bee hotels. We need to encourage managers of urban green spaces to review planting plans with the aim of introducing wilder places to our parks. Planners and developers can help by recognising the value of less manicured landscapes within town planning.


It is currently in vogue for new development to take place on brownfield sites. However it is a misconception that these sites are always the best option for development. Brownfield sites can be extremely wildlife-rich, sometimes more so than the countryside. Its possible to cater for people and wildlife in brownfield development by including features such as green roofs which provide a habitat for wildlife, while helping with issues such as flood control. Many farmers are now doing their bit and receive subsidies to carry out wildlife-friendly farming practices. We need to remind the politicians that this is indeed an effective way of spending taxpayers money.


Here we end our whistle-stop tour of the trials and tribulations facing our native bumblebees. Please do your bit to support our furry friends by following some of the tips Ive mentioned. And remember, we need bees human civilisation depends on them.


For more information contact Gwent Wildlife Trust: 01600 740600 or visit www.gwentwildlife.org

More from Surrey Life

Thu, 10:52

Surrey is full of secret hideaways and hidden gems. Slades Farm on the Wintershall Estate is definitely one of them

Read more
Wed, 16:05

The new hotel is set to open in spring 2019 and will be located in the heart of the vineyard, offering sweeping views over the North Downs Way.

Read more
Tue, 10:53

From Santa’s Grottos, to Victorian Christmas markets and late-night shopping, we’ve covered what’s on in Surrey this season

Read more
Tue, 10:47

Whether you're looking for fine dining, pub grub or exotic dishes, eating out in Surrey has something for everyone. Here's our guide to the best local restaurants and pubs

Read more
Tue, 10:41

Having bloomed in Brighton’s restaurant scene over the past decade, The Chilli Pickle opened its second site in Guildford this summer

Read more
Mon, 14:32

Historic Royal Palaces and IMG have announced that Kylie Minogue is the first headliner confirmed for Hampton Court Palace Festival 2019. These will be her only London shows of summer 2019. Here’s how you can get tickets

Read more
Mon, 12:56

Enjoy this linear rail to ramble section of the Thames Down Link route taking the short train-ride from Box Hill & Westhumble to Ashtead before walking back

Read more
Mon, 12:13

Great things to do in Surrey this weekend (16, 17 and 18 November): art exhibitions, walks, concerts, theatre, places to visit and other events and ideas.

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s that time of year when our beautiful countryside is alight with the colours of autumn. Here, we pick out some of her favourite spots to enjoy the seasonal splendour – as well as some perfect places for a post-walk refresher

Read more
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Found on the stretch of the River Thames between Weybridge and East Molesey, Sunbury-on-Thames is blessed with a village feel where it meets the water. From antique hunts to the joys of river life, here are a few of our favourite reasons to visit

Read more
Monday, November 5, 2018

Verity & Violet are Loui and Jess – a singing duo from Surrey who specialise in blending vintage classics with modern favourites. The two have achieved success in the capital, but are now hoping to attract an audience closer to home

Read more
Friday, November 2, 2018

With the Christmas celebrations seemingly starting earlier every year, it all feels a little too ‘soon’ sometimes, but what if you want to look your best for Christmas & New year celebrations and are considering having cosmetic non-surgical procedures? The Bella Vou Pantiles Clinic offers surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures and treatments from a purpose-built private clinic in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We are regularly reminded of the high cost of housing with statistics revealing that only one in three millennials will be able to afford their own home during their lifetime and that most will remain in the category known as Generation Rent

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search