May 12, 2015
Honey bee numbers are set to blossom on holiday parks this year thanks to a new initiative to create a national network of honey bee-friendly park sanctuaries.
The ambitious project has been launched by the David Bellamy Conservation Award scheme in conjunction with the British Beekeepers Association.
Many bee species have seen dramatic declines in recent years with experts blaming the increasing scarcity of food resources and nesting habitats.
Parks will be helping to address this by growing additional flowering plants, and especially those which provide valuable nectar and pollen in the spring and autumn.
According to Rufus Bellamy, son of the world-famous botanist, holiday parks that plant and manage the right flora can provide a vital lifeline for honey bees:
“Holiday parks are in a position to provide a wide variety of forage crops that, if chosen carefully, can provide food for bees for a long period of time,” he said.
“Parks can also provide places for bees to nest. In fact, a surprising number of parks are already getting into beekeeping, often in conjunction with their local beekeepers association branch.
“Butterflies and other pollinators will also benefit when a holiday park commits to increasing its stock of bee-friendly flowers and shrubs,” added Rufus.
More than 100 holiday parks, all participants in the David Bellamy Conservation Award, have so far taken the “honey bee pledge” and now form a network stretching from Scotland to Cornwall.
Rufus points out that parks making efforts to help the beleaguered bee can also add another fascinating dimension to the experience of their holiday guests:
“The plight of Britain’s bee has been well publicised, but many people don’t understand the real reasons for their decline, or what they can do to help,” said Rufus.
“That’s why another important dimension of our work with the British Beekeepers Association is to help parks enlighten guests about the important role they can play.
“Interpreted walks around the park and its bee-friendly planting schemes can be used to explain why foraging is so important for bees.
“Our hope is that many holidaymakers will use the knowledge to make their own gardens more welcoming to bees and other pollinating insects.
“Some parks are even selling bee-friendly seed mixtures to give guests a head start,” said Rufus who is a wildlife advisor to parks taking part in the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme.
By the end of the year, he added, it’s hoped that almost every county in the British Isles will be able to boast at least one honey-bee friendly park.