“We have plenty of evidence that farmers are benefiting from managing their land in a way that’s positive for bees, for flies and also all the predatory insects or the insects that are providing almost a natural pest control service to their crops,” said Claire Carvell, a senior ecologist at the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
There is a national campaign for the restoration of wildflower meadows in the United Kingdom.
It is part of an even more ambitious project which has started to build a vast highway for insect commuters across the country, the B-Lines. The highway will measure 150,000 hectares in total, to be made up of interconnected wildflower meadows that are only 300 meters apart to make it convenient even for solitary bees.
The wildflower-rich meadows will serve as stop-overs for pollinators and other insects who need food and water on their way to various destinations.
B-Lines was initiated by the nature conservation charity Buglife in 2011, funded in part by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Buglife has finished identifying the most beneficial connections between existing wildflower meadows across the UK and creating a complete B-Lines map.
As of today, the organization has already restored 2,500 hectares of its target areas. But it really is a long project, and they still have more than 147,000 hectares to cover.
And yet, their motivation remains strong after learning that UK has already lost nearly 60% of its flying insects in the last 17 years. Moreover, according to Butterfly Conservation, an estimated 20 bee and wasp species are already extinct and 50% of the country’s butterfly species are now threatened.
Buglife and the government have been working hand-in-hand with farmers and land-owners in restoring wildlife habitats and reviving wildflower meadows.
Building a highway for insect commuters is an arduous undertaking due to the struggle of wildflowers to thrive near farmlands and the need for pollinating insects to have a diverse range of flowering species throughout the seasons.
But even the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stresses the need for conserving pollinating insects through wildflower-rich meadows, since almost 75% of the world’s crops depend on pollination.Whizzco