The British Beekeepers’ Association teams up with leading Dutch bulb company JUB Holland
Honeybees are getting a boost this year, thanks to a new partnership between the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) and leading Dutch bulb company JUB Holland. They have developed a special bulb mix perfect for pollinators, and are donating money for every pack sold to Friends of the Honey Bee. The donations will go towards scientific research into combating a major threat to bees – the varroa mite – and teaching people how they can support bees through planting.
As bees emerge after the long winter, they will be searching for sources of food to help build the colony into spring. The new bee mix includes bulbs that flower between February and June, which can be planted in the garden, window box, tub on the patio or balcony. This means bees will get the boost they need as the days get longer.
“One of the things we’re aiming to do with Friends of the Honeybee is raise awareness about pollinator-friendly plants,” commented Jane Moseley, BBKA Operations Director and General Secretary. “This bulb mix for bees is perfect, and helps people do their bit to support bees this year and in the future, as the bulbs will come back for many years.”
What’s more, for every pack sold, JUB Holland makes a donation to Friends of the Honey Bee. The special bulb mix is also available in large quantities for planting in large gardens, parks and other public green spaces. JUB Holland supplies bulbs to many British local authorities and offers a mechanical planting service for larger projects – the bee mix was first successfully planted in 2014. For every square metre planted, JUB also makes a donation to Friends of the Honey Bee.
The donations go towards scientific research into combating the varroa mite – a significant cause of honeybee population decline. Once a hive is infected with varroa, they spread quickly, feeding off the bees and badly damaging their wings and abdomens. If a bee has five mites, it’s likely to die.
“Friends of the Honey Bee aims to improve honey bee health. One key strategy is to fund research into the varroa mite,” said Jane. “Although there are treatments available, they can damage the colonies too. We want to do detailed analysis on this threat to our honey bees, so we can develop new approaches and fight the mite!”
The partnership started in 2014 and bloomed at the recent Bigga Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate. “We were exhibiting at the show and it was clear that our aims are aligned,” commented Tony Lindhout, JUB Holland. “We want to boost biodiversity, and pollinators like bees are so important for that. We’re really pleased we can work together to make a difference to the honey bee population in the UK.”
JUB Holland’s bee mix is a jute bag filled with 80 bulbs, which can be purchased via the BBKA web shop and other UK retailers. The spring flowering bags (available from August until December) contain Anemone blanda, Chionodoxa luciliae, Crocus tom. Ruby Giant, Muscari armeniacum (Grape Hyacinth), Nectaroscordum siculum and Tulipa linofolia. The summer bags (available from February until May) contain Anemone Mr. Fokker, Coreopsis Moonbeam, Dahlia Sneezy, Lilium Late Morning and Liatris spicata.