Yorkshire egg farmers who have been part of a scheme to increase bee habitats are being trained to monitor bee species and numbers on their land.

Chippindale Foods has spent the last three years working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) developing bee friendly farms to supply its Yorkshire branded free range eggs. The scheme has already created over 16 acres of bee-friendly habitat.

The first training session for bee friendly farmers and their families was held on July 4, 2016 at Weighton Wold Farm in East Yorkshire.

Managing director Nick Chippindale said: “Growth of the Bee Friendly Farm Scheme is an important part of our sustainability plan and has the added benefit of offering consumers more choice in store.

“We work closely with the BBCT to set and monitor biodiversity targets for the bee friendly egg project and our involvement in the scheme has added another dimension to our relationship with our egg producers.

“The project takes the concept of the charity egg pack and moves it up a level, creating sustainability in the supply chain, retaining value in the market and giving conscientious consumers a product that is having a direct and positive impact on the environment.”

Richard Pearson, Chippindale’s head of agriculture, said that as the planting on the farms was becoming more established, bumblebees were thriving.

“Numbers are up year on year, and variety is also increasing, which is really encouraging,” he said.

The training is showing farmers and their families how to count the bees, identify different species and look out for nests.

By working closely with the BBCT,  Chippindale’s producers are helping to create wildflower meadows that can contain up to 40 species of plant per square metre. Lungwort, pussy willow, hellebore and rosemary provide a source of nectar to queen bees coming out of hibernation in early spring. In summer, foxgloves, geranium, hollyhock, sweet peas, thyme and blackberry will attract bees, while honeysuckle, verbena and lavender are ideal for autumn.