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Bee charity launches app to encourage pollinators
The Bumblebee Trust has launched a new app that will help people plant the right flowers to encourage bee populations.
In the last 80 years, bumblebee populations have crashed and two species have become extinct in the UK. In response to the global crash in bee populations the charity has launched a new tool and website to enable gardeners across the UK choose the most suitable flowers for their gardens, window boxes or community spaces. The Bee kind app and online tool was announced at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in the Peak District.
“With so much worry about insect declines, it’s useful to know there are simple, positive actions we can all take,” said Gill Perkins, Bumblebee Conservation Trust CEO. “If everyone planted just one bee-friendly plant we could make a huge difference to bumblebees and other insect pollinators.”
Focusing on plants most attractive to the pollinators, the app encourages the planting of native species ‘bee super plants’, such as apple trees, bugle, foxglove, lavender, and red clover.
Users can use the app to find out how bee-friendly their plant space already is, and learn how to improve it for pollinators, with specific advice based on their own gardens. Users can also find out how to ensure their bees have enough food even in months when plants are not producing enough nectar.
The Bee kind app has been designed with schools, businesses, councils and members of the public in mind. Perkins also noted that the tool could also help local authorities deliver national and local pollinator strategies.
Experts at the charity spent a year upgrading the Bee kind app – including reviewing the latest science about the best plants for bees. Input from volunteers and conservation charity Plantlife was also taken into consideration. The app includes a database with over 650 plant species, along with photos to help planters identify the right species.
The work was led by Darryl Cox, the trust’s senior science and policy offer. He said: “Redeveloping Bee kind has been a collaborative effort involving a lot of people, and the result is an exceptional educational resource that people across the country can use to help bumblebees and other pollinators survive and thrive.”