Responsible for pollinating around 30% of our crops, bees are a vital part of our existence, but their dramatic fall in numbers has been well documented since 2006. Many point the finger at outlawed pesticides, but there is no singular reason for their rapid decline.
In celebration of National Insect Week 2014, we now need to think more practically and logically about safeguarding the future of the bumblebee in Britain. So, whether you have a vast open green space or just a few planters lying around the yard, there are many ways in which we can encourage bee activity in our garden.
Easy Bee Plants
You don’t require the experience and knowledge of a botanist. You simply need some attractive flowers that have open heads, as they’ll be easy for bees to reach and pollinate. Opt for old or native types of roses. The aptly named honey suckle is loaded with nectar and will easily encourage lots of bumblebee activity.
If you favour a more low maintenance garden, planting a variety of wildflowers adjacent to your ever increasing dandelion population will certainly lead to positive bee productivity in the garden.
Go Herb Crazy!
Like us humans, bees also love a good herb garden. So if you haven’t already, spare the time to plant some basil, lavender, mint and thyme. You can always dress the whole thing up with a lovely looking tiered planter.
Add a Water Feature
Funnily enough, bees also need water to survive. They mainly use water to process their food and even regulate the temperature in the hive. So before you know it that topped-up saucer, bird bath and ever enticing puddle have become a hive of activity, turning your garden into the best bee bar in town.
You’re likely to attract other forms of wildlife into your garden as word quickly spreads, but we’re pretty sure that the bees will return the favour by pollinating your plants for the season.
Create a Bee Hotel
At first, the idea sounds a little barmy, nevertheless, creating a haven where bees can nest will result in a much happier and safer population. We love the idea of making our own with individual cardboard tubes, but we also love the idea of finding a sun drenched wall and attaching a pre-assembled insect house for immediate action.
We’d all love the convenience of having a professional bee-keeper on site, or being equipped with a full bee-suit, but in most cases this is somewhat unrealistic. Keep yourself safe by essentially not looking or smelling like a flower. This means avoiding brightly coloured clothing and wearing any ‘eau de toilette’ whilst being out and about in the garden (and why would you anyway?).