Join the Great British Bee Count
Its not easy being a bee! Over past 60 years 97% of their favourite habitat, UK’s wild flower meadows, have been lost and a long with them 20 bee species have disappeared.
Bees are vital for health and vitality of our crops throughout the country from strawberries to apples and tomatoes and without them growing these and other crops will become increasingly difficult.
The good news is that you can help to get the country buzzing again by planting flowers rich in nectar and pollen, letting your grass grow longer and setting aside some of your garden to grow wild. You can also help Friends of the Earth gather as much information about our bee population as possible by using the new Great British Bee Count app on your tablet or smart phone to record your sightings of bees around the country. This year you can even take pictures of the bees you count to help better identify the types of bee you’ve recorded.
So download the app from the links below and get counting!
To download the app:
The app is free, and is available for iOS and Android devices.
The Waitrose Seven Point Plan for Pollinators
At Waitrose we recognise the huge importance of protecting and promoting bee populations and we have taken proactive steps over the years in developing the understanding of this complex issue. In April 2013, we published a Seven Point Plan for Pollinators.
Specifically Waitrose is:
1. Supporting the EU's review into the use of three key neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam), on crops attractive to bees.
2. Avoiding the use of these three neonicotinoids in our fruit, vegetable and flower supply chains for Waitrose products. This will focus on flowering plants attractive to pollinators and see these pesticides being phased out worldwide, beginning immediately and working over the next two seasons.
3. Supporting further research into pollinators through the University of Exeter. The work will look at the impact of neonicotinoids, other pesticides and the combination of both on pollinators. The results will contribute to the development of alternative methods of pest control if the chemicals are found to have long term adverse effects. This will be a three year programme of work.
4. Ensuring, through our farm engagement and supply chain development work via the Waitrose Farm Assessment that all fresh produce farms initially (and arable farms subsequently) monitor and develop bee/pollinator activity. This is based on our previous work with the University of Sussex, via our Agronomy Group, where Waitrose and our fresh produce suppliers work closely together to strengthen standards.
5. Strengthening control frameworks for our commodity crop ingredients such as wheat and oil seed rape, adopting the LEAF standard in these sectors as a proven platform for future environmental development. This will support the delivery of learnings from our produce agronomy and CEUKF activity in the arable sector. Our own Waitrose farm at Leckford is already LEAF certified for these crops.
6. Engaging our consumers including Waitrose Partners (who are co-owners of our business, as well as working in our business) to gather more data on pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, through their own observations. Customers will be asked to share their observations via web developments and apps that are being developed jointly with Earthwatch and the University of Sussex, to contribute to the growing fact base on pollinators and so help to frame future developments that support pollinators.
7. Investing in the development of organic farming to support a wide range of crops that enable choice for consumers. Our support for organic farming also extends to funding from the sale of Duchy Originals from Waitrose that, via the Prince of Wales Charitable Trust, is enabling the Soil Association to develop and share learnings from organic farming across all farming areas to support and strengthen sustainability for the future.