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WELCOME.

Helping forward-thinking farmers make the most of their land for bees and business…

 

Arable | Mixed | Pastoral | Horticultural

Bees are important pollinators of many wild flowers and crops and are essential for a healthy environment and a healthy economy. BEE-STEWARD is a computer software tool designed to help farmers and land managers see how pollinator-friendly management on their farm could affect bee survival and pollination rates.

BEE-STEWARD is COMING SOON…

SECURING WIN-WINS FOR BEES AND BUSINESS

By predicting and comparing the effects of different land management practices, BEE-STEWARD can help farmers make the most of their land for bee conservation and food production.

 

CREATED WITH FARMERS FOR FARMERS

BEE-STEWARD has been created in collaboration with farmers, land managers and land advisors.

CUTTING EDGE AND FREE

BEE-STEWARD has been developed by an award winning team of researchers based at the University of Exeter and is freely available to download.

 

BEE-STEWARD

can also be used by innovative land advisors and food and drink businesses to support the farmers that they work with.

 

FAQ’s

How do I find our more?

Please email BEE-STEWARD researcher Grace on g.twiston-davies@exeter.ac.uk for any questions and updates on model development.

How does this BEE-STEWARD model work?

BEE-STEWARD is a computer software tool designed to help farmers to see how pollinator-friendly management on their farm, could affect bee survival and pollination rates.

BEE-STEWARD is based on the science behind the behaviour of bees. Bees collect nectar and pollen from flowers to provide them with energy and nutrients and to feed their young and make decisions on what to forage for and where from all based on their experience and the needs of their colony (family). This means that changing the types of flowers and location of flowers available to bees on a farm can have a huge effect on bee survival and pollination rates.

By forecasting and comparing the effects of different land management such as growing different crops, or pollinator-friendly options such as wildflower margins on bee conservation and food production, BEE-STEWARD can help farmers to make the most of their land for bees and for business.

Is BEE-STEWARD trustworthy?

BEE-STEWARD is being developed by an award winning team of researchers based at the University of Exeter with decades of experience in pollinator conservation, land management and model creation. BEE-STEWARD is based on a set of bee models which are built on published scientific data and have proved to predict the patterns of bee behaviour, growth and survival seen in real life (published here).  BEE-STEWARD is the most “realistic” (in terms of processes taken into account) bumblebee model currently available and we are working with partners to continue to test out predictions across different landscapes.

In what ways can BEE-STEWARD be made more user-friendly?

BEE-STEWARD is being created in collaboration with farmers, land managers and land advisors and we strive to make it as useful and user-friendly as possible. We aim to provide a balance between a simple user dashboard whilst still allowing as much flexibility to meet the needs of different farmers and farm types. We have built BEE-STEWARD using a free program called NetLogo which provides templates for the dashboard but restricts our ability to tailor this for the highest user-friendliness. Peer-to-peer support and training could really help to make BEE-STEWARD more user-friendly and accessible and we are keen to support projects that aim to work with groups of farmers to collectively and cooperatively improve their land for bees.

Is there much room for improvement and if so how much would it cost?

Science is always advancing and policy is often changing so there will always be opportunities to improve, update and advance BEE-STEWARD. Improvement could be anything from a small change to an overhaul of the user dashboard or creating an online version of BEE-STEWARD in the future. The cost would depend on what needed to be changed, how long it would take and who would do the work. We are always open to ideas and opportunities from innovative businesses to develop and improve BEE-STEWARD together and you can contact us on g.twiston-davies@exeter.ac.uk.

What steps can BEE-STEWARD users take when in need of help on how to use the model?

BEE-STEWARD will come with a user guide to help farmers get the most out of the model. We have developed strong partnerships with conservation and farm advisory groups with the aim that in the future these could help farmers best use the model to help with their environmental management. We also have a website www.beehave-model.net and a user group on Facebook. BEE-STEWARD is built in NetLogo which also has an extensive user manual and online community.

Who is the owner of the BEE-STEWARD model?

BEE-STEWARD is owned by Dr Matthias Becher and the University of Exeter. It will be freely available to download from the website www.beehave-model.net and you can redistribute and/or modify BEE-STEWARD as well as our other models under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

Funded by a NERC Innovation grant NE/P016731/1

Photos © John Jones, Daphne Wong, Georgie Holman