Our Bee Friendly project was launched on Easter Saturday, 19th April 2014, at the first food and craft market of the year with TV gardener and author Alys Fowler joining WFEG to promote the first phase of our new 'Bee-Friendly' campaign.
Alysalso came to the village on Saturday 12th July 2014 to give a talk and judge this year's bee-friendly competitions.
You can hardly have missed all the concerns being voiced by everyone from wildlife enthusiasts to farmers and horticulturalists about the declining numbers and health of bees - in Britain and across Europe.
Loss of wildflower habitats is one reason (more than 97% of Britain's flower-rich meadows have been lost since the 1930s). Pesticide use is another.
Bees also face two major threats as a result of climate change: movement or changes in habitats, and changing seasonal behaviour of different species as a result of warmer weather.
When WFEG conducted its garden survey at the 2013 Countryside Fair, more than 95% of people interviewed said they were interested in and encouraged wildlife in their gardens. So we hope loads of you will join in and look at what you could do to improve your patch for honeybees and our native wild bees.
You can find out more from WFEG's own bee enthusiasts at the Food & Craft Market or log on to www.wfeg.org.uk.
We ofton have a stall with loads of bee-friendly plants too. You can bring some of your own and swap them with ours. Or you can buy of course...
Plants to Attract & Feed Bees
Gardens are extremely important for bees - both honey bees and bumblebees.
Bees need flowers for sustenance. Flowers need bees for pollination - and that includes our vegetable and fruit crops too. No bees, no pollination, no crops. Bees pollinate more than 75% of our main food crops, including strawberries and apples.
And it is not just honeybees, wild bees are hugely important too.
It's vital the flowers you grow provide the food bees need.
Most double flowers are of little use, because they're too elaborate. Some are bred without male and female parts, while others have so many petals bees can't get to the nectar and pollen to collect it.
This is the main reason why single dahlias are popular with bees, while doubles are usually ignored.
The single-flowered rose family, which includes crab apple, hawthorn and potentilla, seem to be irresistible to our buzzing friends, as are fennel, angelica, cow parsley and sedum flowers.
Tubular-shaped flowers, such as foxgloves, penstemons and heathers, are also favourite feeding places for bees.
If in doubt, traditional cottage garden plants and wildflowers are good bets!
Plants For Life!
It's important that you provide flowers throughout the bee's life-cycle. You need blooms from January through to December to ensure early-flying bumblebees and late-foraging honeybees can find what they need.
It's also a good idea to have at least two nectar- or pollen-rich plants in flower at any one time during this period. The nectar feeds the adult bee, while the pollen is collected to feed the young. Of course, the more flowers you have, the more attractive your garden is to bees, so you can never have too many!
You can help bees in several other ways too.
Avoid using pesticides in your garden. Often labelled 'bug killers' or something similar, almost all of them can harm bees, even if that's not what you intend.
Leave a patch of grass to grow long and you may well find a queen bumblebee making its nest there in early spring.
Long grass and densely planted flowerbeds also provide bees with shelter when it rains or if the temperature drops suddenly.
So do bee boxes - ideal if long grass is not your thing! The 'solitary' bee species that will use these don't swarm or sting.
Bees need water to drink so provide this too - this can be as simple as a shallow edged dish of water with pebbles in it to help bees climb in and out.
In summer protect any swarms you see - go to the British Beekeepers Association website (www.bbka.org.uk), click on swarms, enter your postcode, and it will give you the details of the closest collectors to you.
Inspired? Then let's get buzzing!