Perhaps you’re sat out in your garden enjoying the warm climes of summer, or maybe you’re undertaking some DIY projects in your Devon shed. The bees are buzzing around doing their thing – pollinating the flowers, keep our food supplies in tact, and you know, just generally saving the environment and planet. But the sad truth is that the bee population is slowly dwindling – with an estimated 10-15 percent reduction in the United Kingdom. To help prevent this decline, there are a few steps you can take to attract bees to your garden so that they can continue to their important job as pollinators. We hope you find these tips useful!
Reduce or stop (if possible) using plant chemicals and pesticides. These often contain ingredients such as neonicotinoids thiacloprid and acetamiprid that can be harmful to bees. Contact your local garden centre for more information about protecting your crops in a sustainable way and ensure that you check your wooden garden shed for harmful chemicals.
Pollinating flowers in the sun and heat all day can be exhausting. Providing bees that visit your garden with a little shade can give them the break they deserve. Why not plant ground cover that can give bees a place to relax in between feeding and flying. Leafy annuals such as Coleus can be planted to add shade.
Just like us, bees are attracted to colourful plants and flowers – particularly blues, purples and yellows. When planting flowers, keep these colours in mind to create a real buzz in the garden. Try planting lavender, foxgloves, honeysuckle, snapdragons and sweet pea (to name but a few) and create your very own bee haven.
It’s easy for bees to get lethargic and dehydrated when working in the heat of summer. Leave dishes of water around the garden (particularly in the shade) so they can sip at it in the more cooling areas. If you really wanted to be a warrior for the bees, you could even consider setting up a fountain so they can hydrate when required.
You’ll be doubly winning if you plant flowering vegetables and fruits around the garden. Not only will the bees be able to pollinate effectively, but you’ll also be growing your own tasty food at home! Foods such as tomatoes, courgettes, apples, strawberries and cherries are highly attractive.
Make it as easy as possible for bees to pollinate by planting single petal flowers like Queen Anne’s Lace or Black Eyed Susans are easier to feed on. In addition, bees love native plants – so don’t feel the need to plant anything too exotic.
Bees are rather fond of perennials, and with so many to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something to complement your garden space. What is more, they only require planting once and then left to do their job! Coneflower, butterfly weed, poppies, lilies and Bee Balm, for example, are perfect for being able to attract bees to your garden.
You’re enjoying a timeout in your Devon shed and a cheeky bumble bee comes buzzing in, full of curiosity and interest. Try not to swat them away, and teach children to appreciate them. Nine times out of ten bees are gentle and don’t typically sting or bite. Leave them be and let them get on with it!
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