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‘B-Lines’ bid to save our insect life

PUBLISHED: 13:55 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 14:00 13 July 2020

A bumble bee feeding on a lavender flower  Picture: Chris Bishop

A bumble bee feeding on a lavender flower Picture: Chris Bishop

Archant

Rivers of wildflowers criss-crossing the countryside could help declining bees, butterflies and other wildlife move across the landscape, conservationists say.

A bumble bee feeding on a lavender flower  Picture: Chris BishopA bumble bee feeding on a lavender flower Picture: Chris Bishop

A newly completed “B-Lines” network of England, mapping out corridors of existing and potential wildflower habitat across the landscape, has been launched by conservation charity Buglife.

The charity has mapped the network, with the help of hundreds of partners and experts, and with the support of the Environment Department (Defra), to identify where creating new habitat will have the best benefit for pollinators.

In Norfolk, lines follow the county’s coastline, as well the course of the rivers Great Ouse, Wensum and Nar.

Many bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other pollinating insects are in decline as wildflower-rich meadows and other habitats have disappeared from the landscape, the wildlife experts warned.

A bumble bee feeding on a lavender flower  Picture: Chris BishopA bumble bee feeding on a lavender flower Picture: Chris Bishop

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The B-Lines project has worked with local groups to identify existing wildflower habitat and plot out the best routes over the land to link them up and allow pollinators and other wildlife to move through the landscape.

Buglife is urging communities, businesses, public bodies and farmers, as well as keen gardeners, to help create wildflower areas along the B-Lines.

The B-Lines will begin to function as a highway for pollinating insects if stepping stones of wildflower rich habitat covering just 10pc of the land in network are created, the charity said.

A honey bee feeding on a lavender flower  Picture: Chris BishopA honey bee feeding on a lavender flower Picture: Chris Bishop

As part of Bees’ Needs Week, people are also being encouraged to help pollinators with simple actions.

These include growing more flowers, shrubs and trees, letting the garden grow wild, cutting the grass less often, not disturbing insect nest and hibernation spots and thinking carefully about whether to use pesticides.

Catherine Jones, pollinator officer at Buglife says: “A complete England B-Lines network is a real landmark step in our mission to reverse insect declines and lend a helping hand to our struggling pollinators.

“We hope that organisations and people across England will help with our shared endeavour to create thousands of hectares of new pollinator-friendly wildflower habitats along the B-Lines.”


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