Hi this is Jo from the Wild Bunch with our latest column.
I figured that if three quarters of our food wouldn’t exist without the pollinating insects, it was only appropriate to organise a picnic to celebrate our buzzing friends and the food they help us produce. Come Dine with Bee was an event organised by Frome Town Council (at which I’m also the Resilience Officer) and took place at The Old Showfield on 18th August. The event was a celebration of bees, butterflies and hoover flies which are all in decline, and was hoped to bring some educational fun to local families during summer holiday. The guests were invited to bring food that wouldn’t be there without the pollinating insects, so some research was needed beforehand. The picnic bags and baskets were full of strawberries, apples, melon, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, nuts, chocolate and even coffee.
Once bellies were full, we played some games. Everyone agreed that the game collecting pretend nectar to bring to the hive was a ‘beesy’ task and more flowers were needed to meet the demand. Children also carried out some repairs to Buggingham Palace which was built to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee earlier in June, we also made smaller bug hotels to take home, and carried out a simple insect survey.
Some real bees made an appearance but not many. The location we chose for the picnic was the beautiful Blossom Circle created for the jubilee. Due to the recent extremely dry weather the meadows around the circle resembled straw and we did not see many butterflies either. This sparked a very much needed conversation about the importance of private gardens in the changing climate. It’s much easier to manage small areas of wildflowers and grasses in our own spaces than large areas of meadows. Our beautiful parks and surrounding countryside are usually so full of wildflowers and lush grasses this time of year but are currently very dry with very little nectar available for our pollinating insect friends. Gardens, balconies and even window boxes are more important than ever in supporting our declining species and can be a lifesaving oasis for all kinds of wildlife.
Join the Wild Bunch to find out what you can do to support our wild neighbours, visit the Wild Bunch page.