Supermart aims to be bee friendly

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Booths is launching a new range of bee friendly plants with the aim of raising awareness of the serious decline in bumblebees and encouraging shoppers to contribute to their conservation.

The future of the bumblebee and its pollination of crops is crucial to the UK economy and the sustainability of many of the nation’s wild plants, fruit and vegetables, however changes to the countryside and farming techniques have contributed to the dramatic decline of the UK’s bumblebee population by 50% in the last 20 years with two species becoming nationally extinct.

Many of the UK’s meadow habitats have been lost and there are fewer wild flowers in the landscape than previously, meaning many species of bumblebee are struggling to survive.

Booths, which has a store in Garstang, will be introducing around 10 varieties of bee friendly plants into its stores, grown locally with the help of local supplier Arden Lea Nurseries at Hesketh Bank.

Research has shown these particular plants to be a great source of bee food, containing a high pollen and nectar content and providing an easy access for the bees.

Many are listed as the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Perfect Pollinators’ and are single flowers to ensure that the plant is nearer to its natural ‘wild’ origin.

Keith Parkinson, Booths buyer, said: “Bees are the best pollinators of all the insects and without them, much of the fruit and vegetable that we eat, and that is produced domestically in the UK, would become extremely rare.

“We hope that raising awareness of these issues amongst consumers and contributing to the growth of flower rich habitats across the northwest will go some way in ensuring the survival of bumblebees and other wildlife.”