How appropriate it is that their black and yellow liveries are the colours of a hazard warning. These little guys are in danger and they need our help.
Everyone loves a busy little bee. They pollinate crops and flowers and even get an honourable mention in Harry Potter: did you know that ‘Dumbledore’ (the Hogwarts Headmaster) is a synonym for bumblebee? There is a lot you can do, even on a small scale, even with a couple of plants, to help bees.
Now you may already know that bees do not in fact pollinate vines, so there’s no special pleading here. However, there is a lot that vineyards can do to help bees.
First, stop spraying insecticides and herbicides. Our vineyard is full of dandelions which provide early nectar for bees – their long roots help break up any soil compaction too, so its good for us and good for the bees too.
Then sow or plant wildflowers around the vineyard margins as a source of nectar. A healthy vineyard is bio-diverse. Forget mowing! A tapestry of wildflowers is both beautiful and a bumblebee paradise.
Next chose plants for your garden that feed bees throughout each season of the bee year (March to October). Aromatic herbs are particularly delectable. Fruit trees provide them with food and nesting sites, or plant a hedge instead of erecting a fence.
If you can’t take action yourself, a contribution to someone who can is always welcome. That’s why tonight Ambriel is supporting a dinner at Corney & Barrow with Olly Smith in order to raise funds for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. We provide the bubbles, they protect the bumbles. I We don’t want to bug you or drone one, but please help if you can. Whatever you choose to do, bee kind.