Trust Links have been named as a Year of Green Action Bees’ Needs Champion for 2019!
The prestigious award was given to Trust Links in recognition of our ongoing work to protect and provide habitats for solitary bees, which pollinate our therapeutic gardens and sustain the natural environment. The award is given out by Defra (Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) and is part of their Year of Green Action, which seeks to raise awareness about climate change and show people how we can all make a positive impact on the environment.
The judges were particularly impressed by our work at Growing Together Thundersley, where we installed bespoke solitary bee habitats and other structures to provide shelter for bees, birds, insects and mammals in Thundersley. Our beehives were designed by John Little of the Green Roof Company out of recycled materials, and they each come with lambs’ wool for birds to use in building their own nests in the garden.
We are very proud of our solitary beehives. Although solitary bees do not live in colonies like more well-known species, like bumblebees, they are vital pollinators that play a crucial role in the environment. Without our solitary bees, there would be no therapeutic gardens – or tasty produce.
The new bike shelters at Growing Together Westcliff and Growing Together Rochford also feature solitary beehives, and we are hoping that by next summer our gardens will become hotspots for pollinators.
Tracey Brownlow said: "We’re bowled over to have been named as Bees’ Needs Champions for our solitary beehives. Solitary bees are better, messier pollinators than bumblebees and there are over 250 species of solitary bee in the UK alone. With their habitats and suitable flowers under threat, it’s so important that we all do our bit to provide for these amazing creatures that look after our environment. Thank you so much to DEFRA for recognising our hard work.”
You don’t need a big garden or lots of flowers to help bees. The Year of Green Action is all about finding lots of small, positive actions to look after the environment and here are just a few of our favourite ways to make bee-friendly choices:
Choosing to grow herbs, shrubs, and trees that produce high amounts of pollen and nectar is one of the best ways to provide for bees. The more pollen and nectar there is in your garden the more bees will visit you, and with more food and flowers to pollinate the local beehives will thrive.
Planting wildflowers or leaving patches of land to grow wild will mean that bees will have much more variety in the types of pollen and nectar they use. Wildflower meadows and even weeds like nettles, dandelions, and milk thistles are actually very beneficial to all types of insects, especially bees. Caterpillars and moths need wild plants to breed and survive the winter.
Cutting grass less often means that it will flower, providing even more nectar and pollen that bees need to survive. Ideally remove cuttings from the grass when you do mow your lawn and you’ll find that your garden will soon be abundant with bees and all kinds of beneficial insects.
Avoid destroying habitats for insects in bushes, hedges, at the edges of your garden or in dead wood and walls. Without somewhere safe to hibernate during the winter destroying bee habitats will prevent the next generation of pollinators from even being born.
Pesticides are incredibly harmful to insect life, including bees. Spraying poisonous chemicals on garden life can make plants unsuitable for pollination, and it can even kill bees. Consider using non-chemical garden control techniques like weeding, putting up physical barriers to deter pests, and only using pesticides when absolutely necessary.