Look at any new campaign and you may be sure that the WI is already on the case. Today I noticed that the RHS has launched a campaign to urge all gardeners to plant bee-friendly plants. The RHA has compiled a list of plants that will provide nectar and pollen for bees and many other types of pollinating insects. I would urge anyone reading this to download the list of bee-friendly plans found on the NFWI website, www.thewi.org.uk/sosforhoneybees. This list was compiled back in 2009 when the mandate to do all that was necessary to save the honey bee was accepted by the membership.
The SOS for honeybees campaign highlighted the issue of varroa mites, the many diseases that can attack hives as well as the use of pesticides. WI members across England and Wales have put on events of every kind to highlight the plight of not only the honeybee but also the many pollinators we rely on for our food crops and beautiful flora. After months of pressure by WI members, the beekeeping community and campaigners, the Government announced that £10 million would be put towards funding projects researching pollinator health.
One of the first things WI members did in this ongoing campaign was contact their local authorities requesting that they plant bee-friendly plants on all their roundabouts and public spaces where flowers are planted. Members were also urged to plant bee-friendly plants, which they have done in their thousands.
Do take a look at the SOS for honeybees pages on the website and read the blog of the WI's own resident bee-blogger, Martha Kearney. Here you will also see the many other issues that the WI is working on, and if you look back into the history of our mandates (there must be around 500 by now) - you will be amazed, surprised and sure that the WI has been making a difference for almost 100 years. Like I said, the WI is on the case.