5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

Think carefully about whether to use pesticides especially where pollinators are active or nesting or where plants are in flower. Consider control methods appropriate to your situation and only use pesticides if absolutely necessary. Many people choose to avoid chemicals and adopt methods like physically removing pests or using barriers to deter them. If you choose to use a pesticide, always follow the label instructions.

Gardeners, allotment holders and amenity managers

Only use pesticides if absolutely necessary or use non-chemical alternatives where possible. In particular, avoid using pesticides on flowering plants or where pollinators are active or nesting. You could protect your plants by removing pests by hand or building barriers around vulnerable plants, such as netting or cardboard barriers, or by companion planting such as marigolds to ward off aphids.

Farmers, growers and large-scale amenity managers

For a balanced approach to managing pests on a larger scale, you should increase use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). You could also consider husbandry methods such as organic farming if they suit your business needs and circumstances. IPM entails the use of a range of approaches to prevent or suppress harmful organisms. These may include: crop rotation; appropriate cultivation techniques; balanced fertilisation, liming and irrigation; hygiene measures; protecting beneficial organisms; and using resistant or tolerant cultivars and certified seed and planting material.

Good practice in relation to pest control includes the following actions:

• Monitor your crops regularly to identify any pest problems, and take action as necessary based on the results;
• Use pest thresholds, where possible, to determine the need for plant protection measures. Take action only when the thresholds have been exceeded;
• When measures are really needed use biological, physical and other non-chemical methods where possible;
• Where pesticides have to be used, choose products that are as specific as possible and have the least side effects. Plan to use as little as possible and only what you need.

Further advice:

For further advice on IPM please visit: Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF)The Voluntary Initiative or The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board

Organic farming limits the use of pesticides, encouraging the use of alternative non-chemical methods. These include rotation of crops, increasing genetic diversity, use of resistant crops and biological pest control.

For further advice on organic farming go to:

The Soil Association and the Organic Farmers and Growers.

 

Note: Government experts and a wide range of interested parties have helped to inform the development of these actions and the supporting advice. It is intended as good practice advice and should not be regarded as official guidance. The Bees’ Needs is hosted by The Wildlife Trusts on behalf of Defra in support of the emerging National Pollinator Strategy. The Wildlife Trusts do not own or endorse any content other than as a contributing stakeholder to the National Pollinator Strategy along with many other organisations and individuals.

Contact us at: pollinatorstrategy@defra.gsi.gov.uk

1. Grow more

Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees that provide nectar and pollen as food for bees and other pollinators throughout the year.

 

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2. Let it grow wild

Leave patches of land to grow wild with plants like stinging nettles and dandelions to provide other food sources and breeding places for butterflies and moths.

 

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3. Cut grass less often

Cut grass less often and ideally remove the cuttings to allow plants to flower.

 

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4. Don’t disturb nests

Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects, in places like grass margins, bare soil, hedgerows, trees, dead wood or walls.

 

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