We don’t need to tell you why bees are important. As one of the greatest pollinators in the world, it is estimated that one third of the food we consume each days relies on the pollination of mainly bees and other insects; this includes favourites such as coffee, cucumbers, apples and avocados. And in recent years it’s become clear that our buzzing buddies need a little helping hand to make the hive thrive. So what can you do? From planting wildflowers to appreciating the beauty of an overgrown lawn, here are a few simple ways you can bee a hero…
Plant a Bee Friendly Garden
The bees need you. But more specifically, they need your garden. Bees rely on nectar and pollen from nearby flowers for survival, so planting flowers that grow throughout the year will give them a vital source of food all year round. Bees can see purple flowers more clearly than other colours, so lavender is a great starting point, and then look to seasonal blooms to really help the hive. Bee-favourite spring flowers include bluebells, daffodils and forget-me-nots. In the summer, they love hardy geraniums and snapdragons, and in autumn witch hazel and goldenrod will provide an essential source of food to the buzzing beauties.
Let Your Lawn Grow
Bees love lazy gardeners. By letting your lawn grow a little longer, it gives clovers and dandelions a chance to grow which provides nourishment for bees. Reduce your lawn mowing to once every two weeks, and allow the blades to grow to around three inches. You may even find some species of bees, including ground or mining bees, will set up home and build a nest amongst the long blades.
Put Away the Pesticides
Pesticides and herbicides are extremely harmful to bees as well as other insects, so avoid using chemical sprays in your garden. There are plenty of natural, bee-friendly alternatives you can use to keep weeds at bay, for example vinegar which is an effective weed killer thanks to its acidic properties. Simply make a solution of vinegar and water and spray on unwanted weeds, just be careful not to harm your plants in the process.
Create a Bee Bath
It’s time to talk about the birds and the bees. Our flying friends can both benefit from a refreshing drink as the temperature climbs, so why not create somewhere for the bees to lounge when you top up your bird bath? All you need is a shallow container and small rocks or stones. Choose a spot in your garden that’s protected and shady, fill the container with the stones and top up with water (making sure there are lots of dry ledges for the bees to land). Change the water daily and clean weekly to ensure the water remains fresh and you have no unwanted guests living underneath the rocks.