01942 681 648

Bee banks

The Wigan Flashes team have been creating bee banks for solitary mining bees to nest. Females of bee species such as the Tawny mining bee (Andrena fulva) and Ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria) among many others will dig out a tunnel on bare slopes and patches of bare ground to lay their eggs. The tunnel is made up of a series of egg chambers, each has one egg and a supply of food to feed the developing larva until it emerges as an adult.

Some of the bee banks are of brick construction, filled with a mix of sand and cement to recreate the favoured firmness of ground for the bees to dig into. The other type are areas where bare ground has been created by stripping off the vegetation on slopes and in some of the flatter areas sand has been added to the surface.

This work has been funded by Biffa Award and is just one part of the work being done to improve the meadows areas for bees and other vitally important pollinators.

A volunteer tamping down (compressing) the sand and cement mix inside the bee bank before the flagstones are fixed on the top.

Read more

Kirkless Meadow Management

There are several meadows and some important grasslands on Kirkless and they can be found on either side of the canal.  Meadow management consists of one hay cut every year, using a tractor and mower for hay on Kirkless west and a reciprocating mower and brush-cutter on Kirkless east.  As the meadow cut on the west side of Kirkless is for feed, we remove all ragwort from the meadow before it being cut.  We cut the meadow in late summer so as not to disturb nesting birds and allow the maximum seed to be ripe, this then maintains the botanical richness of the meadows.  The meadows are managed to keep back any vigorous growing grasses and to encourage good seed dispersal, we need to remove all the hay much of this is used by local farmers as winter feed, as many wildflowers won’t survive in fertile soil, this ensures that species such as the orchid thrive.

The pollinators such as bees have been encouraged by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust supported by a Grant from Biffa Award.

Read more