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How insects help farmers

Explaining how insects help farmers is important to Cornerways Nursery. Visitors to the 18 hectares of tomato houses are amazed to learn how the bumble bees are essential to the business.

Focus on fascinating detail not big facts

When Matt Ware and Andrew Mackay host visits to the nursery they choose to  focus on the detail that visitors can relate to. It’s hard to get a grip on the scale of production of millions of tomatoes a year but by looking in between the rows of three metre high plant they can connect consumers to the marvellous insects that are so crucial to the business.

Matt Ware and Andrew Mackay show bees essential to tomato production at Cornerways Nursery

Matt Ware and Andrew Mackay show bees essential to tomato production at Cornerways Nursery

Watch bumble bees at work

Quietly watch the hives and the bees are easily seen. By explaining how the bees’ needs are met, the care of the farmer for these hard working insects becomes evident. Showing how a safe home and good source of energy food are provided illustrate this important productive relationship.

Imagine bee navigation

Observing bee flight, flower to flower, may look random. At Cornerways, helping bees navigate home after time pollinating the flowers is explained. Props such as a map or road atlas or sat nav screen could be used as well in order to compare how we humans find our way around and back home again. Even a discussion on the landmarks we all know and recognise and use would help understand the bees better.

Scaling up the detail to the big farming picture

From the individual bee, to the hive, to the number of flowers visited, to the numbers of tomatoes produced thanks to bees each year and suddenly each shiny, fresh tomato in a punnet seems all the more wonderful.