episode 147 | show notes & advice
This week, Sarah is joined by broadcaster, Martha Kearney, and bee advocate, Nicola Bradbear, to discuss their wonderful charity, ‘Bees for Development,’ a full circle initiative that benefits pollinators and communities in the UK and further afield. From the best plants for pollinators to the basics of bee care, this discussion is not to be missed!
Episode 147 advice sheet
Bees for development (4:00)
Inspired by over 20 years of bee keeping at her cottage in Suffolk, Martha joined forces with academic, Nicola Bradbear, to establish Bees for Development.
Bees for Development is the global charity which makes life better with bees. They promote sustainable beekeeping to combat poverty, build resilient livelihoods, and benefit biodiversity.
Expanding into Donkorkrom (8:30)
Nicola explains that many indigenous communities already have so much knowledge and many traditions when it comes to raising bees.
Bees for Development has recently expanded into Donkorkrom, in Ghana, a place that feels the devasting effects of deforestation, is incredibly remote, and a massive producer of illegal charcoal. Bees for Development has started to work with local communities in this region to promote and train the unemployed or vulnerable in bee keeping.
What gardeners can do to help pollinators and interesting facts (12:29)
- Incorporate wilder areas into your garden. Brambles are a superfood for insects, so should be left intact. Treat brambles and thistles almost like ‘No Mow May.’ Both the thistle and bramble families are ideal at all stages of their lifecycles for bees and birds and are both full of nectar and pollen, which provides bees with essential protein and carbohydrate. Plus, abundant seed later down the line for the birds.
- Plant for all seasons – pollinators need food all year round, so it’s always good to plant varieties that are early or late flowering.
- If you want to know what species of bee is in your garden, look to the plants they are feasting on. For example, if it’s a bee in a foxglove, it’s most likely going to be a garden bumblebee as they have extra long tongues.
- Learning is the key to success and shows you care! Why not keep a log of the different bees in your garden? Not only is it fun to do but it will also help you with the plants you choose to introduce.
- Stay away from insecticides – incredibly harmful to a whole variety of insects, go for less damaging alternatives to control pests but keep pollinators safe.
- You don’t need a big garden to introduce pollinators – a pot of nepeta or simple lavender will draw the bees and butterflies in.
- Water provision is so important! Providing access to water all year round is vital for bees and pollinators. Rehydrate parched bees with sugar water or a tiny drop (the size of a pin head) of honey. This can provide lifesaving carbohydrates.
Types of plants suitable for bees (23:19)
- Introduce high-rise havens for bees – plants such as foxgloves are excellent, as the bees can hop from one flower to the next, expending little energy!
- Face flowers – large plateaus make excellent platforms for bees to rest and regenerate even in the wind, introduce these to support moths and butterflies.
- Single varieties – with vast nectaries, these are excellent for sustaining garden pollinators.