Bees are the world’s top pollinators. After 100 million years of evolution, bees are the perfect pollinators. Their longstanding relationship with plants makes them perfectly adapted to recognize flowers and collect pollen; the length of a bee’s tongue is even adapted to what flower they feed on.

Bee pollination is important both ecologically and commercially, and the decline in wild bees has increased the value of pollination by commercially managed hives of honey bees. The analysis of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species across Britain from 1980 to 2013 found the insects have been lost from a quarter of the places they inhabited in 1980.

Photographs by CRUSH Photography©

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Key information

The goldfinch is a highly coloured finch with a bright red face and yellow wing patch. Sociable, often breeding in loose colonies, they have a delightful liquid twittering song and call. Their long fine beaks allow them to extract otherwise inaccessible seeds from thistles and teasels. Increasingly they are visiting bird tables and feeders. In winter many UK goldfinches migrate as far south as Spain.

What they eat:

Seeds and insects in summer.

Measurements:

Length: 12cm Wingspan: 21-25.5cm Weight: 14-19g

Population:

 UK breeding: 1.2 million pairs

Identifying features:

This bird species has different identifying features depending on sex/age/season.

All photographs by CRUSH Photography©

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The following is an extract containing 3 facts taken from “20 facts you need to know about Bees” published by “Friends of the Earth”. I will progressively blog the remainder over the next 2 or 3 weeks. Hopefully, it will help to emphasise the Importance of Beeing a BEE and the crucial part that Bees play on our Planet.

Why do we need bees?

Bees are essential to a healthy environment and healthy economy. We rely on them and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. But bees are under threat and without them so is our food and economy. You can make your garden, street and community bee-friendly. It’s also vital that we persuade the government to take action. Join the generation that saves bees.

1. Bees – the perfect pollinators

What did you have for breakfast today? Jam on toast? Fresh fruit? Dried fruit in your muesli or some grilled tomatoes with your fry-up? Maybe fruit juice or a coffee?

All of this was brought to you by bees. It’s tempting to think bees just provide us with honey – but in fact they’re behind much of the food we eat, including most fruit and vegetables.

Bees are crucial to our economy – without them it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate our crops.

2. A healthy environment needs bees

When was the last time you noticed a bee buzzing around some flowers? Maybe you find them charming or annoying – either way, bees are incredibly important. They pollinate plants in gardens, parks and the wider countryside, including more than three-quarters of the UK’s wildflowers. Bees are a sign of how healthy, or otherwise, our environment is.

3. Bee-friendly spaces are good for us too

Places that are good for pollinators are good for people too. We share bees’ need for varied, natural green spaces and the essentials such places provide, such as clean air and water. They’re important if we’re going to cope with a changing climate – natural spaces absorb excess water and heat, and can offer cool shade.

CRUSH Photography© 

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About

A pretty plant with bright blue flowers, Wood Forget-me-not can be found along woodland rides and edges, in ancient and wet woodlands, and sometimes in hedgerows and verges as an escaped garden variety. It flowers between April and June.
Although Water Forget-me-not may have been the source of many early garden varieties of this popular plant, most are now forms of Wood Forget-me-not.

‘Forget-me-not’

How to identify

Wood Forget-me-not has hairy stems and narrow, oval leaves. Clusters of five-petalled, azure-blue flowers, with white or orange centres, appear at the tops of the stems.

Distribution

Widespread, but most common in Southern and Eastern England.

Habitats

  • Woodland
  • Towns and gardens

Did you know?

Wood Forget-me-not is an ideal plant for shady areas in the garden, near trees and hedges, providing good ground cover and early spring flowers.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK’s gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard?

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Acknowledgements: Extract from The Wildlife Trusts

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