The founder of Birmingham’s newest property management firm, Principle Estate Management, has issued a principled plea to the sector to help save the urban bee population.
Brett Williams launched Principle Estate Management in April 2018 and today – just days after World Bee Day on 20 May – he explained how property managers can use their influence to help bees.
Williams, the former head of residential property management at CPBigwood, said: “One third of our global food supply is created by the pollinating of crops by bees, yet there are many threats to this vital insect and we are seeing declines year on year.
“Although changes in agriculture will help bee populations, urban areas currently have advantages for bees over the countryside.
“Bees can travel to the myriad of small pockets of pollen and nectar rich flowers in gardens, schools, parks and the green spaces around the thousands of apartment blocks in our cities.
“Agents who manage properties have the chance to make a real impact on the hard-pressed honey bee, through their landscaping contractors and gardeners.”
Williams explained that plants, trees and shrubs with simple open-shaped flowers that bloom from early spring right through to late autumn can help to keep bees healthier, more productive of honey and then ready to begin the cycle again the following year.
He highlighted that residents would also enjoy seeing the likes of snowdrops, hellebores and drifts of daffodils, followed by trees covered in blossom, to break their winter gloom.
He said: “If agents managing properties encourage this sort of planting, city centre residents could soon be relaxing in the scents of a sunny corner crowded with rosemary, sage and thyme, or purple lavender spikes, then delaying their slide back into winter with shrub roses, sedums and red-hot pokers.”
Williams advised property agents to insist that garden contractors fully justify using any pesticides, and said they should request that organic alternatives are used, warning that “chemicals that kill ‘bugs’ will kill useful insects and bees too”.
Williams advised: “Encourage community cohesion in your blocks by highlighting the plight of bees.
“Residents can keep a shallow dish of pebbles or marbles topped up with water to allow the bees to drink and take water back to the hive.
“You may even have grounds big enough to keep a community beehive or two!”
Williams pointed to the following websites for property agents keen to support bees:
- The British Beekeeping Association – www.bbka.org.uk
- The Royal Horticultural Society – www.rhs.org.uk
Williams added: “For thousands of years bees have been giving us honey, the sweetest gift. Surely it’s time we gave them the help they need in return.”