HOW TO MAKE A BEE-FRIENDLY GARDEN
Saving the bees is all the buzz at the moment (pun most definitely intended!) but there’s a good reason for that.
Bees play a massive role in pollinating the plants we grow, with the vast majority of plants we need for food relying on pollination. And although bats and other insects also play an important role, wild bees are among the most important pollinators because they are capable of pollinating on a much larger scale. And whether you have a garden or just a window shelf, there are things everyone can do to help them continue providing this invaluable service.
So here are our 5 top tips to attract bees to visit your garden:
GROW PLANTS WITH NECTAR AND POLLEN
A pretty obvious one, right? But it’s important to grow a range of plants that will provide a flowering period all year round. This in turn will provide diversity and variation of nectar for the bees.
As well as choosing plants that pollen, you should also try to include certain types of colours. As research suggests that bees are drawn to flowers that are richest in nectar and they can see UV light on certain flowers, so try to include a variety of blue, purple, violet and yellow blooms if possible.
ACCESS TO SAFE WATER
Bees, like us, need access to clean fresh water. However the usual bird bath is just too deep for the bees. So try adding pebbles and rocks to allow the bees to safely perch above the water, or better yet, provide them with a shallow container or ‘bee bath’ so they avoid drowning.
SAY NO TO PESTICIDES AND HERBICIDES
… or any other chemicals for that matter! Most of these chemicals are toxic to bees with some killing them outright and others causing subtle effects that affect a bee’s ability to pollinate.
HOLD BACK ON WEEDING
They pop up out of nowhere and may not be exactly what you were expecting to grow, but a lot of the plants we call ‘weeds’ actually do a great job supporting wildlife, such as lawn clovers, dandelions and even thistles. As well as relaxing on weeding, you can also give your lawn mower a bit of a break too. Allowing your grass to grow longer gives bees shelter and a place to feed.
Hopefully you find these tips helpful and will have your own bee garden up and running in no time.