Urban Bees and PWC

Urban Bees has a new client: auditor’s Price Waterhouse Coopers. It began last year when their London gardener, who we worked with at Weil law firm, asked us how to make the terraces and roofs at PCW’s two London offices better for bees and other pollinators. As a result, he’s planted more fruit trees and early and late flowering perennials, shrubs and herbs. And we are hoping to install bee hotels, observation boxes, bee sand planters and piles of drilled wooden logs – all for solitary bees – by spring 2024, to create places where different solitary bee species can nest.

We are giving a series of talks to staff about different bees and their importance and how we can help them. We emphasise that having a hive of honeybees is not the way to save bees and in fact honeybees can often outcompete wild, solitary bees and bumblebees in urban areas. PWC are following our advice and are putting in measures to help wild bees on their offices in London and beyond.

We ran our first bee safari at the Embankment Place office on August 3, which participants thoroughly enjoyed and they seemed to learn a lot – just even the difference between a honeybee (other companies have hives nearby, so they forage on the PWC terraces), a Buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) and a Common carder bee (Bombus pascuroum). Lavender proved the biggest hit with the bees.

The second bee safari at EP was postponed because of rain until the first week of September, which was a heatwave. The lavender had gone, so the bees were on a mixture of Catmint (Nepeta), a shrub called Bluebeard or Caryopteris x clandonensis and Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). We didn’t see much variety of bees – just the same as last month.

Comments from staff:

“Loved the bee safari. I never knew there was more than one type of bee and that only one makes honey.”

“Can’t wait to start planting some of these flowers in my garden and see which bees arrive.”

“What a great way to spend my lunch hour. I’ve learned so many new things.”

“Looking forward to seeing different bees next spring.”

“My daughter is going to love this bee guide. Maybe they can do something similar at her school.”

Plans for 2024 include:

  • Installing bee hotels for cavity-nesting bees and a bee observation box so staff can see the life cycle of a Red mason bee nesting in the box
  • Installing a bee sand planter for ground-nesting mining bees
  • putting up signs about the different bees staff may see visiting the terraces at Embankment Place
  • running more bee safaris
  • running bee hotel workshops where staff assemble flat-pack wooden bee hotels to take home
  • visiting regional offices to run bee hotel workshops
  • advising contractors how to make terraces and rooftops in regional offices better for bees and biodiversity.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.