Save the bees with wildflowers

Geoff Brunsden and his bees. Photo: Tracy Hardy.

Bay of Plenty residents are being urged to plant bulbs, wildflowers, herbs, vegetables and trees in their gardens this autumn as part of the mission to preserve the bumblebee.

The New Zealand Bumblebee Conservation Trust was created in 2016 to educate New Zealanders about the action required to protect our bumblebees for the continued production of food crops, now and in future.

Its goal is to ensure New Zealand is continually plentiful in bumblebees and other pollinator insects.

Pyes Pa resident and trust co-founder Geoff Brunsden says one of the best ways to achieve this is to plant wildflowers – and that's something everyone can do, wherever they live.

“Wildflowers create a beneficial and varied food source for bumblebees,” says Geoff, who is NZ's leading exotic wildflower landscaping expert and has worked with promoting wildflowers for bees and landscape beautification for 35 years.

Geoff and NZBCT co-founder Helen Johnson are on a journey to educate New Zealanders on the vital importance of the bumblebee, and say it's easy to take action now and make a difference.

“Autumn is a great time to sow wildflowers. These will grow all through winter and in early spring, popping up in August, which is the perfect time for bumblebees when food is scarce,” says Geoff.

“Our landscape has transformed from an insects' paradise into clay and concrete,” warns Helen.

It's not necessary to have a large garden to make a difference – even those living in apartments or retirement villages can plant herbs or flowers in pots.

“Bee-friendly, nectar-rich flowers such as lavender, borage, geraniums, herbs and wildflowers, are fantastic for bumblebees,” says Geoff.

To find out more about the NZBCT, or become a member, go to: www.nzbct.org.nz

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