Women’s Institute Helping Islands’ Bees To Thrive

carreg dhu gardenIslanders and tourists visiting Carreg Dhu gardens this spring should notice more bees.

Last summer volunteers from Scilly’s WI Group planted a range of flowers, including heather and sunflowers, designed to encourage the insects.

It’s the islands’ response to a national Women’s Institute initiative, following concerns over falling bee numbers.

Part of the garden’s historic narcissi display has been turned over to the bee-friendly flowers and Pam is hoping that all locals with gardens will do their bit by planting bee-attracting plants such as raspberries, Michaelmas daisies, ivy, acacia, crocus, rosemary, chives, artichokes and geranium.

Pam says this would give something for bees to land on from January, right through to December.

There are a number of theories about the decline in bee numbers.

We can rule out the Varoa mite in Scilly that has destroyed some mainland colonies, because it’s still not endemic here. Use of pesticides and climate change may be a cause too.

Gardeners may also be “too tidy” in the way they let their gardens grow, with cut lawns and pruned borders.

Pam says bees traditionally prefer pastures and islanders could help by letting parts of their gardens go wild.