With the warm summer days upon us, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how to give our bees a friendly helping hand.
In the last two decades the number of bees in our countryside has been in severe decline. Around 13 of the UK’s bee species are now extinct and 35 others are under heavy threat of extinction. Experts believe that there are a number of factors behind the quick decline of our bee populations, and some of those include pollution, use of pesticides, parasites and of course, climate change.
However it’s not all doom and gloom! Luckily there is a lot you can do to help from the comfort of your own home.
Here are 5 simple ways to help the bees in your garden.
Stop using commercial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers
Commercial pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are packed full of harmful chemicals that are not only bad for bees but are also unhealthy for any other wildlife in your garden, your soil and even you and your family too! There are some much better, natural alternatives to almost everything. Research and try a different, much greener route.
Give your bees a home
The larger majority of the UKs bees are actually solitary creatures that don’t live in hives. Instead they prefer to live alone only venturing out to pollinate and feed. They spend most of their time underground or in cracks in walls or trees. Give them a proper home to live in and install some bee tubes around your garden.
Plant bee-friendly plants and flowers
Bees need flowers to maintain good health and even if you only have a small balcony space, there is still so much you can plant to help them out. It’s not just flowers that help, a lot of herbs, vegetables and fruit also give bees the energy they need to survive.
Quick tip- Remember to plant for all seasons. Cowbells and primroses are perfect for the spring. Fox gloves and lavender make a great option for the summer. Runner beans and honey suckle for the autumn and snowdrops and raspberries for the winter.
Set up or make a “bee-bath”
A day in the life of a bee is thirsty work! Make sure your bees have a place that they can stop, rest and have a quick and refreshing drink. Unfortunately, these fluffy little sweethearts cannot swim so filling any shallow dish with gravel or stones, topped up with rainwater will give them a safe place to land.
Support your local bee keepers
Buy your honey locally. Unlike big honey companies, local bee keepers often adore their bees and tend to be much more concerned about their general health and wellbeing than they are about making money. It might be a little more expensive but I assure you, it’s worth every penny!