John O’Conner unveils Bee Part Of It project

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John O’Conner Pest Control and Grounds Maintenance divisions have joined forces to work on an exciting project “Bee Part Of It” in Letchworth, collaborating with North Herts Council.

This initiative began with a simple vision by Karen Green, pest control manager at John O’Conner, to establish a couple of bee hives on the company’s premises.

However, upon conducting preliminary research, Karen, who was named Unsung Hero of the Year at the National Pest Awards 2023, quickly realised that the local area lacked sufficient food sources to sustain an increased bee population.

Recognising this gap, Karen collaborated with Gareth Towson, the grounds maintenance manager, to conceive a more comprehensive approach. With a solid plan in place, Karen and Gareth presented their ideas to the North Herts Council, with whom they routinely collaborate. The council recognised the merit of our proposal and pledged its support for the project.

To get the project started, John O’Conner collaborated with North Herts Council to plant bee friendly plants on the UKs First Roundabout, created a ‘bee corridor’ through the middle of Letchworth. To provide further support to the bees, the company has also worked with local residents to introduce wildflower and bee friendly plants in their gardens.

It’s not just residents who have embraced this new initiative, local businesses, pubs, scout groups, schools and community garden groups have been involved.

In April 2024, John O’Conner  organised a ‘Bee Part of It Event’ where it undertook guerilla planting with colour, helped local children to make bee bombs, bee hotels, bee watering stations, all to take home and put in their own gardens. It was also fully supported by Love Letchworth, which maintains Letchworth Town Centre and Culturewood, which runs local forest schools and outdoor wellbeing sessions.

Chris Mercer, executive committee member of Hertfordshire Beekeepers Association, said: “This was a fantastic initiative for bees and all insects. It will be wonderful for our local ecosystem and the wellbeing of the people who are living within the bee corridor.”

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With more than 25 years' experience in business-to-business publishing, Simon is editor of LBM titles Pest and OvertheCounter. Big fan of Manchester United.