It is no secret that bees are facing some tough times in recent years. A quick glance at the data reveals some worrying facts that you might want to take to heed. In the UK alone there are more than 254 species of bumblebees, with over 20% of them now regarded as endangered.
It is not just cutting on pesticides that plays vital role in support of bees. As it turns out, your gardening efforts can also positively affect their population. This comes as no surprise because gardens are in fact the most important habitat for bees. A well-designed garden provides nest locations and also food sources for bees all the way from March till October.
If you are all about supporting pollinators, you can follow these steps:
- Create a wild corner – a south-facing bank could turn into a great wild corner. The idea is that bees can use it for nesting purposes. There are many solitary bees out there that would love the warmth and convenience. What you can do is remove tussocks of grass. This allows bees to bury conveniently in the well-drained soil. Leave this area undisturbed till late in the year, and you will have the perfect spot for bees.
- Create shelter – bumblebees are all about shady and sheltered corners. An additional requirement is that the place is in a relatively quiet corner that is mostly out of the way. You don’t have to think of shelter, i.e. various items serve the same purpose for a bee. One notable example is an upturned plant pot with a few holes/cracks to serve as entry points. It does the job nicely and lets you reuse items that you would otherwise toss in the trash.
- Plant with the seasons in mind – if you want to help bees, make sure you plant bee-friendly blooms. Expanding further on that strategy, make sure at least two of the blooms are in flower at any given moment. Research what plants work in favour of bees and go with them. You will be surprised to find out that there are many lovely blooms out there that are not only staggering in appearance and beautiful looks but also work well with bees.
- Pick the right flowers – the next time you are at your garden centre, think like a bee. For example, if you find a nice plant with plenty of petals, you may think it is lovely. However, it is anything but nice for bees, who will have a difficult time accessing the nectar due to all the petals. Find the ‘perfect for pollinators’ tag on your plants – that is how you know they work for bees.
- Pot plants – if there is a small garden, consider seasonal bee-friendly container plants. Solitary bees will surely appreciate even simple features as few bamboo canes pushed into the soil.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to help bees in your garden thrive. All of them combined are sure to assist these little insects, which will, in turn, support your gardening efforts.