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40 Nature Notes Lots to enjoy in the Great Outdoors E


veryone is talking about pollinators and if you’ve seen The Bee Movie you’ll know why. The conservation of pollinators is essential for the health of our countryside with the reproduc- tion of about 85% of all wild flowers and flowering crop species depending on pollinating insects. In short, 1 out of every 3 mouth- fuls of our food depends on pollination taking place. The South West is a particularly important area for bees with its


warm climate and extensive habitats such as the South Devon coast and Dartmoor. But bee numbers have been dropping over the years so we all need to do our bit to keep the world buzzing! If you want to know more about bees check out


www.buglife.org.uk and Bumblebee Conservation Trust. THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP Honeybee


Bumblebee


✿ Let your garden grow a little wild in places. ✿ Mow your lawn less often. Embrace clover. ✿ Think really carefully about using pesticides.


Wasp


HONEYBEE – thin body shape with little hairs, black stripes of golden or amber orange colours BUMBLEBEE big, round and fuzzy, striped with black orange and white. WASP – thin body shape with little or no hair, very yellow and black stripes.


It’s worth noting that bees aren’t the only pollinators – we need to protect other pollinators such as beetles, butterflies, moths and hoverflies. Picture left: Hoverfly


Did you know? • There are over 250 types of bee in the UK


• Bees carry pollen on their legs, like saddlebags, transporting pollen between plants as well as taking it back to their hive for food.


• The waggle dance is a technical term in beekeeping to describe a particular figure of 8 dance that honey bees do to communicate pollen and water sources with other member of the colony.


• Wasps are carnivores and use their stingers to kill and lay their eggs inside their prey


• In Japan people eat giant hornets both fried and raw! • Hornets are a type of wasp


• Bees like purple flowers like lavender, buddleia and echiums because they see purple more clearly than any other colour.


Warning - Asian Hornet Invasion!


Not so harmful for humans but these in- vaders are a great danger to our native/ European pollinators whose population can be decimated. Be on the lookout – if you spot one – take a photograph and send a picture with location details to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk or via App AsianHornetWatch


• Wasps may just seem to be annoying stingers but in re- ality they are just as valuable to the ecological system as they kill pests as well as pollinate plants.


• Six banded nomad bee is a bee now only found in South Devon on the cliffs around Prawle Point.


Six banded nomad bee


✿ Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees – choose varieties that offer food or shelter over those that don’t. Plan to have something in flower every month of the year, particularly during the winter.


geograph-5497524-by-Mike-Pennington


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