Bees provide us with an invaluable service by pollinating the plants we grow. You may have heard that over the last few decades, the UK bee population has been in decline. Buzzing pollinators are facing new, heightened threats from the modern world - such as disease, poisoning and neglect from their human community. This means that it’s more important than ever to offer our bee-friends a healthy and pleasant environment to live and work. Whether big or small, there are things every garden can do to help them.
Not only will the bees thank you for it, but your garden will also blossom brighter than ever with the introduction of its new pollinating community!
Plant bee-friendly trees and shrubs
While this point might seem obvious, it’s important to grow a range of plants or trees that will provide a continuous flowering period, especially from March to September.
Trees such as Wild Cherry and Sessile Oak produce higher-than-average levels of pollen throughout the year, making them a great pit-stop for bees!
Create bee hotels
Providing bee hotels is a great way to boost bee diversity in your garden, by attracting solitary species. Solitary bees lay their eggs in the hollow cavities, leaving a small supply of food for the larvae to eat. The larvae then hatch, pupate and emerge from the stems. Always position bee hotels in full sun. Bees naturally like to tunnel around in the undergrowth. They find their way into mounds of soil, grass and other garden roughage - so pick a spot in your garden and let it run a little wilder than usual! Bees are wild creatures and much prefer a natural habitat than shop-bought bee-boxes.
Avoid using pesticides and weedkillers in your garden especially near blooming flowers. Spraying unnatural chemicals pollutes the precious habitat for all your local creatures and our bees are particularly sensitive. Natural methods of weed and pest control are healthier for everyone.
Relax on weeding
It’s easy to forget that many of the plants we consider weeds actually do a brilliant job at supporting wildlife. Lawn clovers and even dandelions will attract and provide pollen and nectar for bees. As well as relaxing on your weeding, you could leave certain areas of the garden completely undisturbed and let nature take its course.
Offer a drink for tired bees
It’s not uncommon to find bumblebees at an apparent standstill appearing tired, particularly in winter or in inclement weather. To get them back on their feet, you can mix a sugar solution by mixing equal parts of warm water and sugar.