Stuck on the M4, listening to the radio and very slowly crawling my way towards junction 11, with the kids arguing in the back, the image of bumble bees and honey bees happily buzzing down a flower clad highway was quite appealing.
The radio presenter described how, due to urban development and farming intensification, wild flower rich grasslands have declined 97% since the 1930’s, leaving pollinator populations fragile and in serious decline.
Those patches of wild flower habitat remaining across the UK are becoming isolated, leaving bees and other pollinators marooned – poor bees!
This is where the bee highways or ‘B-Lines‘ as the Invertebrate Conservation Trust Buglife call it, would come into action – creating corridors across the country, rich in wild flowers. Thus allowing bees and pollinators such as butterflies, moths, beetles and hoverflies to thrive. They would be able to move around the country pollinating flowers and fruits (apples, strawberries, cherries, pears and raspberries to name a few) as they go.
These habitat friendly corridors would link a network of existing wildlife rich areas and nature reserves. Urban green spaces like parks, cemeteries, school grounds, golf courses or landscaped areas in business parks, as well as river banks, railway lines and road verges could be adapted to offer pollinators food and shelter on their travels.
Apart from looking pretty and helping bees, what benefits would we gain from all this effort? More than I realised, according to the radio commentator’s informationÂ “One in every three mouthfuls of our food depends on insect pollinators”.
Without them, no strawberries & cream, no apple & blackberry crumble to drown in custard, no cherry bakewells from the bakers!
The kids and I have come to a unanimous decision, we will do our bit to help by building a ‘bee hotel’ at the bottom of our garden, among the lavenders…..once we manage to escape the M4!