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Bee-ing kind to struggling bugs in Brighton
A haven has been created for beleaguered bees as new research hopes to save the queen bees of the insect world.
Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth and Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods set up the site to create the perfect habitat for the threatened species.
The groups helped to clear the overgrown south facing bank to expose chalky soil, which some bees love.
Lesley Brown, projects officer of Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods said: “We are really pleased to be creating a new environment which will not only encourage bees, but a whole range of other wildlife in the woods.”
Monica Jennings of Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth added: “We hope to encourage a range of solitary bees such as Red Mason Bee, Carpenter Bee and Leafcutter Bee.
“Solitary bees are important as crop pollinators and we need to ensure they survive.”
The University of Sussex is also hoping to be an institution to save the world.
It has been awarded £100,000 to continue its work researching honey bees.
The numbers of bees has been declining rapidly in the past few years, with last year’s wet and cool conditions again affecting numbers.
Honey bees are central to our existence through pollination, and the university has now received funding until 2015 for its Sussex Plan for bees.
The plan investigates practical questions that will help to address the wide range of challenges currently facing honey bees, including lack of forage, parasites and diseases.
The money is coming from honey company Rowse Honey.
In 2009, the company donated £100,000 to help launch the Sussex Plan for honey bee health and well-being.
The long-term research project will also advance practical knowledge of honey bees and social insects.
Professor Francis Ratnieks said: “This support will be vital in maintaining the Sussex Plan, given the challenging climate.
“Rowse were our first corporate donor, and their initial donation played a key role in getting the Sussex Plan going, turning it from an idea into reality.
“It is encouraging to the LASI team that Rowse will be supporting us for three more years.”
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