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Fluffy, Cute and Cuddly… Transforming How We See Bees

May 20, 2020 3:54 PM
By Mary Page

Photograph of bees

Photograph of bees 2

I knew there were lots of bees in the UK, 250 species in fact. I also knew that they're a vital element for biodiversity and how there's been colony collapse disorder, parasites, and pesticides that have been threatening our bee population, yet despite all that, I'm sorry I've never been a big fan.

Having been stung a couple of times as a child, I'm like many who have more fear than fascination for these essential pollinators of our trees, garden and meadow flowers. However, two of the Bristol Liberal Democrats have been changing my viewpoint, particularly on one species of our solitary bees...

Throughout Lockdown two friends have been posting videos and pictures of some really fluffy, cute, and cuddly creatures that have made me appreciate them in a whole new way. It may have helped that they both also have cats and the images of Red Mason bees interspaced with images of one of the UK's top favourite animals may have evoked a more Pavlov caring response from me.

One of them Caroline Gooch says,

"My Red Mason bees have finished hatching now and have filled and capped 16 tubes. They are out early and did an amazing job of pollinating my plum and apple trees, and I only planted the plum last spring."

She continues:

"The way the Red Mason bees nest is that they make little cells out of mud, lay an egg on a bed of pollen, then cap off the cell with more mud, all in the tubes provided. I then send these back to the Bee Guardian project so they can be open the tubes, screen for parasites, remove any cocoons inside, wash and sort them before placing them into safe storage over winter."

So if you haven't got room or time for the adorable antics of kittens or puppies but have got a small space for a couple of fruit trees or other plants that need pollination, and you would like to have a cute and fluffy part-time pet, then maybe becoming a bee guardian might be the thing for you.

Emma Griffiths and Caroline Gooch have been buying bee cocoons through the Bee Guardian Scheme: https://www.masonbees.co.uk/bee-guardians

Even without a garden, you can help by giving bees a home with a donation to the Woodland Trust: https://shop.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-for-bees

Or in the Bristol area, we have a new organisation aiming to buy land to plant trees to support all forms of biodiversity in woodland. Avon Needs Trees

Mary Page is a Green Liberal Democrat member and the Bristol Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate: http://www.bristollibdems.org/marypage