LOCAL beekeepers have welcomed a new campaign to urge gardeners to create more bee-friendly habitats and foraging areas.
The 'Bee Creative in the Garden!' call from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Wildlife Trusts comes as bees are under increasing pressure, largely due to loss of habitat.
In the countryside, according to the charities, 97 per cent of lowland meadow has been lost.
They added that the increase in people paving over their gardens is also contributing to the loss of green space.
Helen Bostock, senior horticultural advisor at the RHS said: "A healthy garden is buzzing with bees and other pollinators. By providing nesting sites and growing nectar and pollen rich flowers, gardeners can and do support a wide variety of bumblebee and solitary bees."
As part of the campaign, gardeners will be able to download a bee-friendly gardening guide. Wildlife events and a 'Bee Creative' photo competition will also be taking place from April 1 to November 1.
Dr Rhona Sutherland of the Ryedale Beekeepers' Association said: "What you do in your garden may be small but it will always be useful... It may seem like a drop in the ocean... Every little helps… These have all been said many times before, but when it comes to what you can do to help honeybees in Ryedale, they are all true.
"Honeybees collect nectar and pollen from flowers to make honey. Wildflower habitats everywhere have been steadily reduced in recent years.
"It is now more important than ever that gardeners provide as much suitable bee-friendly forage as possible.
"Organisations such as the BBKA (British Beekeepers Association), the RHS and the Wildlife Trusts all provide lists of flowers that produce plenty of nectar and pollen for bees at different times of the year.
"Honey production and numbers of pollinators could be dramatically improved if residents consulted these sites and planted according to their recommendations."
Ellie Brodie, senior policy manager at the Wildlife Trusts, said: “Anyone can take action to help wild bees, whether you have a wall for vertical planting, window box, or back garden. It’s easy to plant a bee haven and fun choosing between bee-friendly beauties such as borage, foxglove and honeysuckle.”
A free planting guide can be found at wildaboutgardensweek.org.uk.