To make life easier on bees, a borough of London is building a bee corridor. Brent Council will plant a 7-mile (11-kilometer) corridor that will encompass 22 wildflower meadows in many of the borough's parks and open spaces.
Wildlife corridors are typically man-made nature highways created so animals can move around without interference. They're often built with large animals in mind, but even smaller creatures like bees can benefit from them. Nature corridors can help entire ecosystems flourish despite their close proximity to humans.
Borough park workers began plowing the plots earlier this spring. They are planting seeds including ragged robin, cowslip and poppy to encourage more visits from pollinating insects.
"The team curated the mix of wildflowers with bees and other insects in mind, choosing varieties that would attract these pollinators," project manager Kelly Eaton told the BBC.
The goal is to have all the meadows blooming this summer. An additional plus, say park representatives, is the added burst of color the blooming wildflowers will provide.
'We must do all we can'
The wildlife corridor announcement comes on the heels of a recent study highlighting widespread losses in the number of pollinating insects across the U.K. since the 1980s. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, found key threats to pollinators include climate change, habit loss, pesticides and the spread of invasive species.
Researchers believe the continued loss of wild habitats has a huge impact on the decline in pollinators as many butterflies, bees, dragonflies and moths rely on these flowers to live.
Pollinators are a critical part of the ecosystem. Up to 75 percent of crop species and up to 88 percent of flowering plant species benefit from insect pollinators.
"Bees and other insects are so important for pollinating the crops that provide the food that we eat," Councilor Krupa Sheth said in a statement. "We must do all we can to help them to thrive."