Bumblebees

Newchurch Parish Council are supporting the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and have agreed try and increase the diversity, abundance and season length of floral resources for bumblebees (Bombus spp) during the length of the life cycle (March until September) in The Spinney, The Village Hall Playing Field and The Wildlife Pond.

 

The Millenium Spinney

This 0.4 hectare area, is planted with endemic trees including willow, apple and walnut. It has a good seed bank of wild flowers, including common vetch, excellent areas of white clover (right) and some red clover. In order to further enhance these areas, for bumblebees, it would be beneficial to cut the areas where the white clover is less frequently, (between 6 to 8 weeks or more) to allow it to flower and set seed. Suggested addition of 30 comfrey plants to the spinney, to increase forage for bumblebees. These would be provided in kind by the project. The project would also like to create five (1m x 1m) enhancement plots in the area, with EM3 mix wildflower seeds and yellow rattle. This would reduce the need of regular cutting, as the yellow rattle parasitizes the grasses, reducing its density. Planting and sowing could be carried out by project volunteers and any volunteers from the village who would like to help. Signage could be placed around this area to explain to the general public the benefits of creating a wildflower area for bumblebees and other wildlife. The increase in insect diversity will consequently increase the diversity of birds that rely on insects as food. We would be able to help design the signage and provide photographs.

 

 
 

Newchurch Village Hall

This 0.4 hectare area is an amenity area which has a seed bank containing predominately white clover, with some red clover and self-heal. It would be beneficial to reduce the mowing frequency to every 6 to 8 weeks in the area where the red clover (figure 2) was observed. This area could be enhanced with an EM3, or other wild flower mix, to enhance the red clover and the addition of yellow rattle so that the grass does not out compete the wildflowers in this area. Signage could be placed around this area to explain to the general public the benefits of creating a wildflower area for bumblebees and other wildlife.

Newchurch Wildlife pond

The pond already provides excellent nesting areas for bumblebees, as well as forage of white clover and self-heal from the church grounds adjacent. The yellow flag iris in the pond is an excellent early forage plant for bumblebees. Suggested addition of tufted vetch, purple loosestrife and water mint would further enhance this area for bumblebees. The addition of yellow rattle in the areas surrounding the pond would reduce the need to mow this area as frequently and provide forage for long tongued bumblebee species.

How Can I Help?

We conduct wild flower and bumblebee surveys throughout the bumblebee season, to determine which resources are available for bumblebees and how the bumblebee population is doing. If anyone in the village is interested in helping with these surveys, they would be more than welcome. It would be ideal if the area was surveyed monthly for bumblebees by an interested member/members of the village, with the project trainee, to provide long term sustainability for monitoring.  Click here to contact Nikki Gammans who is the Short-Haired Bumblebee Project Manager