Last year BAE Systems decided to leave significant areas of grass at its Cowes site to grow naturally, and they are now seeing an abundance of bumblebees.
As well as large numbers of individual bees, the number of different bee species has increased, along with a plethora of other insect life, which in turn has attracted more birds and wildlife to the site. The ‘grow not mow’ policy has attracted buff-tailed and red-tailed bumblebees and the number of colonies has increased since last year.
A spokesman for the company said: “Letting nature’s pollinators thrive has benefits for the natural environment as well as economic ones – as the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust estimates that bees contribute £600 million to the UK economy as pollinators.
“Our employees also gain from closer interaction with the natural environment. The health and mental well-being benefits of this are well known and getting closer to nature is one of the positive effects that lockdown had on many of us.”
While few Islanders have the acres of land that BAE own, we can all pledge to ‘bee’ part of the change that bumblebees need. You can find lots of information and tips to help our flying friends on bumblebeeconservation.org, including a menu suggestion for each month that bees are active. Planting bee-friendly flowers, even in a pot or small garden, can make a real difference for the helpful insects, as well as brightening up your outside space.