Keep the ‘Bee’ in Britain: Make your garden a wildlife sanctuary this summer
With summer now upon us, we're heading into our gardens and green spaces in our droves, which means it's time to spruce up your own slice of nature. Sadly, however, the UK has lost almost half of its wildlife and plant species because of human and land development since the Industrial Revolution. To date, the UK has already lost 23 species of bee and flower-visiting wasp species since 1850.
Utilising advice from The Wildlife Trust and data from the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas, we've revealed a list of the most biodiverse cities in the UK and compiled location-specific tips and tricks to implement when gardening, in order to help keep vulnerable animals safe.
As a nation of nature lovers who spent billions of pounds on plants, flowers, and other gardening goods last year, here's what you can do to help:
Bristol: Eastern grey squirrel - Generally considered to be a pest, the grey squirrel population is continuing to grow. To prevent squirrels from stealing food from other more critically endangered wildlife, supplying an abundance of acorns, bulbs, tree shoots, buds, fungi, nuts or roots will help keep their furry hands out of bird feeders, and away from other animals' harvests.
Leicester: Common carder bee - The best flowers to provide nectar for these long-tongued insects are long-tubed flowers such as the late flowers of white dead-nettle and honeysuckle.
Edinburgh: Common brown bat - Becoming rarer due to a loss of sites for them to roost in, homeowners can purchase special bat boxes that help to shelter bats - those who are more crafty can even make their own.
Stoke-on-Trent: Western European hedgehog - To give these nocturnal visitors somewhere safe to nest at night, create thick dense undergrowth with a variety of lengths of grass. To ease access, creating a small opening on either side of your garden fence or wall helps hedgehogs to come and go as they please.
Reading: Stag beetle - The UK’s largest beetle, the best way to take care of these insects is by providing them a home. You can use logs or piles of wood chippings to make a simple shelter, as well as saving any logs with signs of holes or rot.