With global crashes in insect numbers causing alarm, a unique free online gardening resource to get people growing more flowers for bumblebees and other pollinating insects has been launched at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in the Peak District this week by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
The conservation charity's upgraded, interactive 'Bee kind' web tool helps people across the UK choose the best plants for pollinators in their gardens, window boxes or community spaces – including native 'bee super plants' such as apple trees, bugle, foxglove, lavender, and red clover.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has created Bee kind for UK-wide use through the charity's Pollinating the Peak project, supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Users can find out and score how bee-friendly their patch already is, and how to improve it for pollinators, with advice based on conditions in their own gardens. They can also discover how to ensure bumblebees have a lifeline of food even in months when nectar-rich plants are in short supply.
Gill Perkins, Bumblebee Conservation Trust CEO, said: “Bee kind provides people with vital information to make bee-friendly choices in their gardens and green spaces. With so much worry about insect declines, it's useful to know there are simple, positive actions we can all take. If everyone planted just one bee-friendly plant we could make a huge difference to bumblebees and other insect pollinators.”
Bee kind is available at beekind.bumblebeeconservation.org and can be used by schools, businesses, councils and the public. It can also help local authorities deliver national and local pollinator strategies.
The tool includes a database of more than 650 plant species – never collected for pollinators in this way before – with many images generously provided by the Royal Horticultural Society and floralimages.co.uk.