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    • Laurie Jackson, the new Buglife Farm Advisor for Kent and Sussex tells us about her project and how she can help you.......

      Buglife, The Invertebrate Conservation Trust are pleased to offer landowners and farmers across Sussex free, tailored advice and support on how to create, locate and manage beneficial features for wild insect pollinators.

      The long-horned bee (Eucera longicornis) is one of the species the project aims to support c. Rachel Bicker

      Spring has sprung! Early spring plants and shrubs are blooming and queen bumblebees are starting to emerge from their long hibernation. Spend some time watching a patch of flowers and you may spot these wooly aviators foraging alongside solitary bees such as the hairy-footed flower bee Anthophora plumipes and hoverflies including the marmalade hoverfly Episyrphys balteatus.

      These early season pioneers are part of our wild insect workforce - a vital component of our environment, industriously pollinating wild flowers and many agriculturally important crops to the benefit of our economy.

      In recent decades pollinators have fallen on tough times with losses of flower-rich habitats as a result of agricultural intensification and urbanisation recognised as a major factor in their decline. This has big implications for us.

      The Countryside Stewardship programme launched last year contains a Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package formed of a set of management options that in combination will help farmers to safeguard wild insect pollinators, and other wildlife such as declining farmland birds, on their land.

      It's not only bees that pollinate plants, hoverflies like this Phantom hoverfly (Doros profuges) also play an important role c. David Element

      The options include features such as wildflower margins and very low input grasslands, which can help ensure pollinators are provided with the nutrition they require from a diverse mixture of flowering species from early spring to autumn. Additional options such as hedgerow management and taking low yielding or difficult corners out of management will help to provide suitable sites for these species to set up home.

      Buglife want to work with landowners and managers to ensure that these options are used in the best way on each holding. Implemented well, the Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package has the potential to re-connect natural habitats across our landscape – opening up new frontiers that will enable healthy insect pollinator communities to thrive.

      For further information about how Buglife can help you or to discuss a free visit please contact Laurie Jackson – laurie.jackson@buglife.org.uk or 07880 316036.