Plant ‘Bee kind’ flowers and get your garden buzzing

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has released a major upgrade to its ‘Bee kind’ tool, a free online gardening resource which helps people choose the best plants for bumblebees and other pollinating insects.

Bee kind scores the existing plants in your garden to see how bee-friendly it currently is and then provides planting recommendations to improve its bee-friendliness.

Gardens and green spaces offer a wonderful opportunity for people to take positive action to help bumblebees and other pollinating insects, but knowing which plants to grow, whether they are right for your garden, and if they will benefit pollinators can be a real challenge.

Science and conservation staff at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust have spent the past year upgrading Bee kind with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund via the Trust’s Pollinating the Peak project. The new version of the educational web-app is built around a thorough assessment and review of the latest scientific evidence, showing which plants work best for bumblebees, and contains a wide range of new features allowing users to personalise the planting advice they receive.

Bee kind is simple to access and can be used by schools, businesses, local authorities and the general public to help improve their gardens and green spaces for bumblebees and other pollinating insects. It also forms an important resource to help policymakers across the UK achieve success with Government and Local Authority pollinator action strategies.

Gill Perkins, CEO, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “At a time when there is so much doom and gloom in the news about insect declines it is useful to know there are simple positive actions we can all take. ‘Bee kind’ provides people with vital information to make the right choices for bumblebees in their gardens. If everyone planted just one bee-friendly plant we could make a huge, positive, difference to bumblebees and other key insect pollinators across the UK.”

Gill added: “We hope people will pick a new ‘Bee kind’ plant for their window box, garden or school and then encourage the rest of their community to join in and see how bee friendly their garden is!”

Darryl Cox, Senior Science & Policy Officer at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, led the team that upgraded Bee kind. He said “Redeveloping the ‘Bee kind’ tool has been a collaborative effort and we owe great thanks to all the people involved, the team here at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the web development team at Hydra Creative, our dedicated volunteers and members who supplied the background data, colleagues at Plantlife for their invaluable input and the many people who helped test and refine the tool. We’re very grateful to the Royal Horticultural Society and John Crellin from floralimages.co.uk for the use of their images, and to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for backing our work to help bumblebees. The end result is an exceptional educational resource that people up and down the country can use to help bumblebees and other pollinators.”

Jonathan Platt, Head of the National Lottery Heritage Fund East Midlands said: “I’m delighted we have been able to support Pollinating the Peak thanks to the generosity of National Lottery players. The Bee kind tool is an important resource which will enable us all to turn our love for bumblebees into action, creating havens for bumblebees in our gardens and green spaces whatever their size.”

The Bee kind team say that this is not the end of the development process. They will continue to revise and update the plant information and scoring system as more scientific data becomes available, and part of the new update invites citizen science feedback from users that can be incorporated into future editions.

To use Bee kind click here.

Contact details

For further information, images and interviews – Barnaby Smith, Public Engagement Manager, Bumblebee Conservation Trust mob: 07519 122570; email: barnaby.smith@bumblebeeconservation.org

Editors Notes

Bee kind is an online educational gardening resource designed to help people choose the best plants for bumblebees and other pollinators in their gardens. Visit beekind.bumblebeeconservation.org to find out how bee-friendly your garden is today.

The new web application is maximised for mobile use and provides all the benefits of an app through a smart phone’s web browser without taking up memory (mobile phone data usage may apply if not connected to wifi).

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a UK based charity that was established because of serious concerns about the ‘plight of the bumblebee’.  In the last 80 years the bumblebee populations have crashed and two species have become extinct in the UK. www.bumblebeeconservation.org

Hydra Creative are an award winning agency and specialise in bespoke websites and software, with a particular expertise in digital problem solving and building the impossible.  Hydra have been in business for a decade this year, and work with companies around the UK and globally. www.hydracreative.com

The development of Bee kind was also supported by funding from Reverence for Life UK.

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