Fruit growers and NFU members Mansfields have set up more than 200 ‘bee hotels’ in a bid to encourage the tree pollination which is essential for their top fruit business.
The ‘bee and bees’ have been place in 20 fields across Kent.
Farms manager Craig Rook said: “Bees are part of the fine grain of Britain’s local biodiversity and are something to be cherished. As we know, many species are in decline, due to loss of nesting and feeding habits, so anything we can do to assist in conserving species is essential.
“These homes are best suited to solitary bees, which work far more efficiently than honey or bumble bees, particularly in the typical cold temperatures we experience around blossom time in the UK.
“This isn’t a short-term solution – these will be a permanent home for a bee’s lifespan, which is at least nine months, as it develops from an egg into a full-grown adult. We are also planting a wild flower seed mix for the bees, which is excellent for making a haven for wildlife.
“We’ve noticed an increase in bees ‘checking-in’ to their specially-made hotels and we will monitor this activity as we gradually increase the number of hives to 500 over the next five years, learning what works best in terms of shapes and materials through time.”
The new habitats join a raft of field margin wild flower projects, beetle banks and wildlife corridors at Mansfields.