A family-run business in Yorkshire is doing its bit to help boost the UK’s bee population, by hosting colonies of bees on site at their plant nursery.
Johnsons of Whixley are working in partnership with Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association on the project, which recognises the crucial role bees play in our eco-system.
An apiary, a place where beehives of honey bees are kept, has been installed on Johnsons’ 220-acre site, located in the very heart of the county.
The British bee population has declined at an alarming rate in recent years, by a third since 2007.
Recent wet summers have also prevented bees from searching out pollen, while environmental changes, such as the increased use of pesticides in farming, have contributed to the decline, alongside the depletion of natural habitats, like hedgerows and hay meadows.
Studies have revealed that around a third of the world’s food is pollination dependent.
Pollination is the vital process in flowering plant reproduction. It involves the transfer of pollen grains from the anther (male) to the stigma (female) of the same plant, or another plant of the same species.
The fertilised egg cells grow into seeds which are then spread in the many fruits and vegetables grown throughout the UK.
Johnsons of Whixley group managing director, Graham Richardson, said: “The site here at Johnsons is ideal for bees, as it provides foraging within the surrounding countryside and utilises the almost infinite number of flowering plants that are grown onsite as sources of pollen.
“We are pleased to be able to benefit the bees in this way and provide an overall boost to these wonderful insects, that play a more significant role in our day-to-day lives than many realise.”
Johnsons of Whixley is one of the largest commercial nursery businesses in Europe, and a trusted supplier of plants and trees to the amenity sector in the UK.