UK (University of Reading) Bee hotels can help boost buzz for pollination at home

Setting up bee hotels and keeping grass long – these are just some of the things people can do to benefit bees this summer.

A team from the University of Reading will support Bees’ Needs Week, a campaign organised by DEFRA to raise awareness about the support our flying friends need to thrive in the UK.

Experts from the University of Reading are urging people to help bees and boost pollination by taking simple actions at home, such as:

  • Create a flower-rich patch of pollinator habitat in your garden to provide nectar and pollen for hungry bees
  • Plant a variety of flowers so pollinators have flowers from spring to autumn
  • Go from a no-mow May to a no-mow summer. This will help flowers set seeds for next year
  • Avoid using chemical sprays in green spaces
  • Put up a bee hotel in allotments or gardens
  • Leave a small patch of bare earth where burrowing bees can dig their nests
  • For those who don’t have gardens, putting out window or balcony boxes are good options

Professor Simon Potts, Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the University of Reading, said: “The sad truth is that bee populations are declining due to habitat loss, harmful chemicals used in insecticides, and climate change.

“Fewer bees means flowers don’t get pollinated and it will be harder to grow fruit and veg in our gardens or allotments.

“Bees buzz about in the background so many people might think they don’t need our support, but there a lot of things we can do to make bees’ lives easier and help keep our fridges full of healthy food.”

Pop-up supermarket

To support Bees’ Needs Week, a team from the University of Reading will erect a pop-up supermarket at St James’s Park in London on Tuesday, 11 July. DEFRA minister Trudy Harrison MP is set to attend the exhibition.

The supermarket will help people better understand the essential role pollination plays in their diet by showing visitors which of their favourite foods depend on bees for production.

The exhibition will also feature a bumblearium, in which members of the public can see pollination in action when dozens of bees are released into a cage full of flowers.

Pollination experts from the University of Reading will also be present to inform people of the actions they can take to help bees to thrive.