Sweet success for bee rescue project

West Lancs Rangers Service staff and volunteers with their award for looking after bees
West Lancs Rangers Service staff and volunteers with their award for looking after bees

Council staff at are buzzing after landing an award for helping bees.

The West Lancs authority’s Countryside Ranger Service and volunteers have been working closely with Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Plan Bee Project to improve habitats for wild bees and other pollinators at Beacon Country Park, Up Holland.

The project is largely funded in the borough by the Whitemoss Community Fund and has won a Bees’ Needs Award for 2016 from Wigan-based Keep Britain Tidy.

Creating good habitats for bees is vitally important to aid movement of populations.

According to the British Bee Keepers Association one third of the food we eat would not be available without pollination from bees.

In the UK about 70 crops are dependent on or benefit from visits by bees, and bees also pollinate the flowers of many plants that become feed for animals.

The rangers and the volunteers have carried out work throughout areas of council-managed land in West Lancashire.

They have planted wildflower seed, changed mowing regimes and altered woodland management, and carried out surveying work.

Education work is a key part of the project to increase public knowledge of the importance of bees, the threats they face and what simple steps can be taken to improve habitat for them. Schools have been encouraged to provide more plants in their grounds and information boards have been installed at key sites and public areas.

As a result of this work, over 600 new records of bees and other important pollinators have been made in the last three years in West Lancashire.

Coun Yvonne Gagen, portfolio holder for leisure, said: “Congratulations to all the staff and volunteers who have helped to win this award. They can be very proud of the important work they have done here.”

Concerns have been growing for a number of years about the bee population of the world’s decline.

There are also conflicting theories as to why numbers have been falling so rapidly although the widespread use of a type of pesticide called a neonics have particularly been blamed. A little parasite called the varroa mite also takes its share of the blame.

Biologists are worried that a dying out of bees, as key pollinators, can have a devastating impact on the world’s eco-system.