Friday, 30 September 2011

It’s official… Guinness have said that we really have built the largest bee house in the world at Barking Riverside.

It’s official… Guinness have said that we really have built the largest bee house in the world at Barking Riverside.

After two months of waiting for Guinness to go through the evidence and check our measurements, they have confirmed that we have a Guinness World Record.

For more information, see the blog entry from 11th July 2011 below, and the article in the Observer,

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

New water vole footage from Barking Riverside

New water vole footage from Barking Riverside

Last week, we set up a motion sensor wildlife camera focused on a water vole hotspot. We left it running for a week and have managed to get three clips of live water voles roaming around the ditch edge.

We have now repositioned the camera so hopefully we’ll get better and longer footage in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime check out these videos on You Tube:

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Bee Garden is buzzing!

The Backyard Bee garden, designed especially for Barking Riverside’s bees is buzzing with life.

The wildflowers are all thriving and are covered in bees of all types. Even the rare bumblebee, the brown banded carder bee has been spotted:

It’s important to provide wildflowers in your garden that flower throughout the year,  Pussy Willow and fruit trees are great. The buff tailed bumblebee is one of the first bees to emerge from hibernation, so it is important to provide nectar in your garden all through the year. In the Backyard Bee garden, we have planted all sorts of trees along with herbs and other wildflowers that flower at different times in the year. We have also prepared nesting habitat in the form of a meadow, a compost heap and bare sandy south facing banks, as different bees have different nesting requirements.

We also have the largest bee hotel in the world, which was written about in the Observer on 7th August 2011:

A common carder bee was also recorded foraging in the garden:

Monday, 11 July 2011

Biggest bee house in the world at Barking Riverside

Biggest bee house in the world at Barking Riverside

The world’s largest bee house in the world at Barking Riverside was opened for bee business on Saturday 18th June. Local volunteers and residents helped London Wildlife Trust and Make:Good to build the house out of wood and bamboo.

Alison Benjamin, co-author of “A World Without Bees”, adjudicated this world record attempt and confirmed that the Barking Riverside’s bee house is 16.56m2, (13.04m by 1.27m), exceeding that built by the current record holder, Kent Wildlife Trust, by nearly 5m2.

Volunteers took up the task of building the bee house three weeks ago, contributing over 750 hours of work involving the cutting over 20,000 pieces of bamboo, sawing over 200 logs, drilling numerous holes and building the housing structure. The bee house, sponsored by Barking Riverside Ltd and the Big Lottery Fund, will provide thousands of valuable nesting sites for Barking Riverside’s 30 or so solitary bee species.

The event attracted 80 willing volunteers mainly from the Thames View community in Barking, wishing to help finish the bee house to make it a Guinness World Record. The day concluded about 4.30pm, after the final log had been placed, measurements been made, and when local Scout volunteer, Owen McNaughton, shouted “we’ve got a mover-inner”, as he watched the first bee crawl into one of the bamboo canes claiming the bee house to be their new home.

Barking Riverside’s Conservation Officer, Francesca Barker said
We have built this bee house at Barking Riverside to provide habitat for solitary bees which are
in decline in Britain. It has been incredible how much support we have received. Not only have our local residents and volunteers invested a lot of their evening and weekend time to help out, but the local businesses have been very kind through providing us with all sorts of things such as roofing felt, excavators, top soil and one business even dismantled a whole floor of their scaffolding so we could use the scaffold boards for the housing structure!

Alison Benjamin highlighted the plight of our bees on Saturday saying ”The lack of foraging plants, nesting sites and the use of pesticides are having an overwhelming impact on our native bee species, however it is possible to do our bit to help through providing nesting sites, like Barking Riverside’s bee hotel, and planting the right flowering plants in our gardens.”

Solitary bees are the lesser known bees that don’t form a colony, make vast amounts of honey, or sting, but make up 90% of our bee population. They look for small tunnels or holes in which to make their individual nest cells for their larvae, and should love the bamboo sticks of the Barking Riverside Bee House. The bamboo sticks mimic dead plant stems which are a natural nesting material for certain solitary bees.

                                          Photos by Frank Cillini