Bees are a big part of our local wildlife and have a very important part to play in maintaining ecosystems. These invertebrates are the top pollinators on our planet, helping to pollinate our food and also, plants and trees that provide vital habitats for wildlife. However, bees are now in decline all over the world, facing many threats including habitat loss and climate change.
Urban areas provide enormous opportunities for habitat creation. Bees need food and somewhere to live. By providing good sources of pollen and nectar (flowering plants) throughout the year, we can make the urban environment a great place for bees.
Paignton Zoo, part of Wild Planet Trust, is committed to protecting our local wildlife and wild places, believing that a lot of conservation can come from small actions done at home. At Paignton Zoo, in addition to the flowers, we have also provided solitary bees with somewhere to nest. Solitary bees make up the vast majority of Britain’s bee population, consisting of 250 of the 270 bee species. They are different from bumble bees and honey bees as they make individual nests rather than colonies or hives. Many of them choose holes in dead plant stems and pieces of wood. When we have provided them with bee hotels, we have found many of them quickly took up residence.
With Bettesworths’ kind support, we have installed 4 brand new, custom-built bee hotels around the zoo. They can be found at Paignton Zoo on the picnic lawn on the way up the hill to Crocodile Swamp, near the Vet Centre and behind Baboon Rock.
Here are a few words from Bettesworths:
Matt Bettesworth, Managing Director for Bettesworths: "For a family company like ours, currently in its third generation, the environment is very important. We want to be part of, and raise awareness of the issue of sustainability through this great project. Of course, as everyone knows, bees are synonymous with our brand."
"Sustainability is key, in both the built environment and our day to day lives. Whilst this project is about having fun it also carries the message of how important pollinators are and how good design and build can help the natural environment.”
"Bees are in trouble. There is growing public and political concern at the Bee decline globally. This decline is caused by a combination of stresses – from loss of habitat and food sources to exposure to pesticides and climate change. More than ever before, we need to recognise the massive importance of bees to nature and our lives and do something about it. We need them to thrive, not just survive!" - Emily Northcott
The project has been announced to tie in with World Bee Day, happening this year on Thursday 20th May.
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