Saving the small things that run the planet

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Our 'Get Britain Buzzing' campaign aims to highlight the crisis facing British pollinators and to transform grassland in our urban parks and along road verges into colourful species-rich wildflower and grassland meadows. A massive 97% (over 3,000,000 hectares) of flower-rich grassland have been lost in the UK since the 1940's. This loss has contributed towards a serious decline in flower-rich areas that are vital habitats for wild bees, butterflies and other insects to nest and feed.

This huge loss of wildflower meadow habitat is due to agricultural intensification to produce more home-grown food, and through the wider development of housing, transport infrastructure and industry.  The loss of this important habitat has resulted in the decline of more than two thirds of UK pollinators, including many species of butterfly, hoverfly, moths and bumblebees. 

Buff tailed bumblebee (c) Suzanne Burgess

Buff tailed bumblebee (c) Suzane Burgess

Eighty percent of plants need insects for pollination and without these plants we would not have the air we breathe and the food we eat.  Wild insects pollinate our food for free and without them we wouldn't have crops such as apples, cherries, pears, plums, pumpkins, raspberries and strawberries.  Pollination of agricultural crops by insects in Britain is valued at more than £691 million.  National reports in the press stress the importance of honeybees in food production but wild bees and other insects are even more important as they are adapted to pollinate a much wider range of plants.

The Campaign

Buglife's campaign to Get Britain Buzzing has attracted the interest of senior politicians and has the backing of Germaine Greer, Bill Oddie and Tony Blair.

Buglife Chief Matt Shardlow says: “Pollinators put food on our plate and colour in the countryside. For the sake of future generations we must take action now to halt the tragic loss of wild bees and other pollinating insects”.

Buglife is delivering a range of exciting projects as part of our Get Britain Buzzing campaign, including: B-Lines and Buzzing projects that will create swathes of wildflowers, protecting and improving pollinator habitats on brownfield sites, creating high-rise pollinator habitat living roofs, encouraging people to create bee hotels in their gardens and influencing pesticide policy and law focusing on those chemicals most toxic to pollinators.

Buglife’s Buzzing

With the help of volunteers from local communities and schools, Buglife’s Buzzing projects are creating wildflower meadows up and down the UK, many project involve:

  • Planting plug plants and seeds of a variety of native wildflower and grassland species
  • Planting Yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) which is a hemi-parasite of grasses and reduces their growth thus improving wildflower species diversity in a meadow
  • Altering grass cutting regimes
  • Improving management of grasslands
  • Creating bee banks for ground nesting solitary bees and other insects
  • Planting flowering trees and hedgerows
  • Attending events to enthuse about the importance of grasslands for pollinating insets, other wildlife and people