Bee kind – taking care of our pollinator friends
Published on 17 February 2022
Here at Milton Park we’re doing all we can to look after our spirit animal, the bee. Bees are in trouble - with around 35 bee species in the UK that are under threat. Globally, 90% of wild flowering plant species as well as 75% of food crops rely on pollination, so we’ve made sure there are measures in place to help protect the bee community at Milton Park.
To help bees at the Park, we’ve planted 20,000 bulbs across the Park and have introduced a new 1400m2 wildflower meadow.
Even small things can have a positive impact in ensuring there is plenty of food for our bees to enjoy throughout the year. One example is making sure our wildflower meadows feature plants with differing flowering times, starting with crocus in January, to tulips, daffodils, muscari and alliums finishing in July. Another is to keep pruning to a minimum so our plants can carry out their full flowering cycle.
Right now, we have two separate beehives which are given special care by our Nurture Landscapes team. Later in the year, we’re planning to increase this to four. Nurture carefully maintains the beehives at the Park, organises the wildflower plantings and arranges for an expert team of beekeepers to harvest the honey at the end of the year.
Peter King, Estate Manager for Milton Park, reveals some of extra measures we’ve got planned for this year: “We’ll soon be introducing an additional 1500m2 of wildflower meadows across the Park, as well as a new orchard to further improve the welfare of the bees. These measures will help to counter a lack of pollen and nectar available resulting from competition with other pollinators - the likely reason for this year’s modest honey harvest of 18 jars. With these greater resources in place for the bees, we’re hopeful for a larger haul of honey next year and beyond.
“We’ll also be analysing the honey produced on the Park for the very first time. Doing this will help us to see where the bees originated from, how long they stay with us, what types of plants they’re attracted to and the type of nectar from which the honey is produced. We’re really interested to learn more about our bees and can’t wait to share the findings with you as soon as we have them!”
We’re looking forward to enjoying the latest batch of Milton Park honey and will also be giving four lucky people the chance to win their very own jar. If you’d like to enter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your guess for the total number of beehives due to be at Milton Park by the end of the year. Let us know your answers before Friday 4 March for your chance to win.