The Channel Islands Co-operative Society launches plan to help bees

May 15th, 2012 by The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Limited

The Channel Islands Co-operative Society has launched Plan Bee, which is an initiative to support and grow the Channel Islands’ bee population.

Primary schools across Guernsey and Jersey have received information leaflets and packets of wildflower seeds which, when planted, will help to feed the bee populations of both islands.

Besides producing honey and beeswax, bees pollinate about one third of the food crops that humans rely on globally. Without bees many foods wouldn’t be produced.

A bee visits an apple tree blossom on 27 April 2012 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Pollination is vital for many plants, including many fruits and vegetables.  Without the service of pollinating bees, humans would be without apples, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, onions and chocolate (cocoa) and many more foods.

In Guernsey, a low bee population means a low number of pollinators to pollinate our vegetables, fruit trees, and flowers that depend on pollination. Bees are essential to our environment.

In 2009, American Foulbrood killed about one third of Jersey’s bee population. Fortunately, Guernsey’s bee population has not suffered the same fate.

In the last 12 months, the Guernsey Beekeepers’ Association has seen its membership double as beekeeping becomes increasingly popular.

Alan Jewell, President of the Guernsey Beekeepers’ Association, said “we have been concerned to maintain the health and strength of our bee population. If islanders can support us by following a few simple steps, such as planting wildflowers, our bees have a better chance of prospering.”

Alan Jewell, President of the Guernsey Beekeepers' Association in the white bee suit with past President Chris Tomlins (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Mrs Jane Rix, an experienced beekeeper, and a member of St Martin’s Floral Committee, joined Channel Islands Co-operative representatives at an assembly at St Martin’s School on Monday 14 May 2012 to speak to them about what they, their classmates and their families can do to help.  Mrs Rix joined the students afterwards in their outdoor woodland classroom to plant wildflower seeds.

Ways to help the bee population:

  • Plant wildflowers as these provide a good range of pollen and nectar. Bees need a healthy and varied diet. These can be scattered in a small area of the garden.
  • Select plants which carry the “Bee Friendly” symbol. The distinctive yellow “Bee Friendly” logo will help you choose plants that are particularly beneficial to bees (and other insects). Although this symbol is relatively new, local garden centres will increasingly stock these.
  • Encourage the planting of trees – horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, maple and sycamore all provide nectar. Oak trees are great producers of pollen.

Greg Yeoman from The Channel Islands Co-operative said “we are delighted to launch our local Plan Bee initiative. We are sending out 500 packets of seeds to the island’s primary schools as part of our campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the local bee population and to inspire islanders to get involved and do their bit to help.”

Plan Bee is part of national campaign, which the Co-op in the UK established in 2009, with the aim of addressing the decline in pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths.

(click on the Plan Bee logo to go to The Channel Islands Co-operative Society Ltd. Plan Bee website)

  1. No Comments

Have your say