TV presenter Michaela Strachan's bee plea
TV presenter Michaela Strachan is urging the public to create bee-friendly gardens and habitats this spring to help the important pollinating insects.
The Springwatch presenter has teamed up with environmental group Friends of the Earth to encourage people to take "easy" steps to help bees and to take part in the Great British Bee Count this month.
The calls are backed by leading bee expert Professor Dave Goulson who warned Britain's bees were facing "multiple threats, from loss of flower meadows and quiet places to nest, and from the many pesticides used in most modern farming".
Strachan said: "Bees are such an important species to our ecosystems but they desperately need our help.
"There are two very easy ways that you can do your bit. You can help to create bee-friendly habitats and you can get involved in bee counts.
"Bees are great for gardens so choose bee-friendly plants and see how many bees you can attract.
"You can also take part in the Great British Bee Count. It's fun, free and will really help you to learn more about our precious bees."
Tips for making gardens, allotments, school grounds, patios and even streets more bee-friendly include buying nectar and pollen-rich plants, especially ones with purple flowers which bees can see more easily.
Rather than striving for a uniform lawn of grass, people can leave some dandelions and clover to flower for bees, while on the patio letting a few dandelions come up through the cracks can also help the insects.
Friends of the Earth is also urging people to avoid using pesticides and to provide a clean source of water in a shallow bowl with a few pebbles to land on.
Even people without a garden can help bees, by growing herbs including chives, sage and rosemary in pots or window boxes, which the insects will visit when they flower.
And the public can help gather information on bees by taking part in the Great British Bee Count between May 19 and 30, using a free smartphone app to record the bees they spot in gardens, parks and countryside, the green group said.