Bee Kind to the Bugs! 

With the bee population struggling across the UK due to a variety of factors including pesticides, the effects of climate change, habitat destruction and more, we could soon be facing a shortage of these incredibly valuable, pollinating insects. 

Whilst we can’t all help bees all over the country, we can do our part to protect and look out for the bees in the local area. Catherine Howell, project manager of the Barefoot Kitchen CIC, is on a mission to help make Middlesbrough a bee-friendly town! Working in tandem with Middlesbrough Council’s Green Strategy, Catherine launched The Buzz-in Boro Project early last year, which was unfortunately impacted by the pandemic. 

“We intended to do talks at schools and face-to-face courses, but, of course, that’s been very difficult,” she says, “So we arranged online courses, some small face-to-face courses with community groups and a downloadable Bee Spotter Guide, which has proved really popular. We also have a tree hive in Albert Park.” 

More and more state-of-the-art bee homes are going up all over the town to help with Catherine’s goal for Middlesbrough; “The hives are a natural beekeeping system for passing honeybee swarms to gather and they provide a safe and effective way for people to engage in the lives of their insect neighbours.” 

The council are also planting annual urban meadows and flower verges, whilst altering their approach to grass cutting. These changes will aid pollinators by allowing more time for flowering. 

However, it’s not just the council that can make a difference, with Catherine offering advice for everyone to implement in their own gardens: “At home, we can do our bit by not cutting our lawns too often, and keep hedge-trimming to a minimum. Bees like messy corners, so don’t be too tidy. 

“You can also try putting bee-friendly plants in your garden – you will see the RHS ‘plants for pollinators/perfect for pollinators’ logo, which appears on beneficial plants’ labels.” 

You can learn more about Buzz In Boro and download the spotter guide here, or find out more or volunteer to help by emailing