I love bees, bumble, honey, wood or otherwise, I adore their beautiful fuzzy bodies and ability to fly despite their fuzzy bodies. How they live in a hive, a community who all work together. How they can see colours on the spectrum way beyond our own eyesight, that they store complex maps of where to seek and find food and how they pollinate our food and flowers.
Bees love them or hate them, are essential to our survival and have been declared the most important animal on the planet.
They die when they sting us, yet humanity would die without them, and they are now at risk of becoming extinct, which is incredibly serious.
Why is this happening?
It’s a combination of many different factors, nearly all created by man. Pollution, pesticides, deforestation, lack of flowers and viruses are all contributing to their decline.
The home veggie garden is no longer common place in the UK, modern houses often have a postage stamp of a garden and households work full time so our lifestyles are very different to how they once were.
All this makes for quite sobering reading, so I hope to inspire you on what YOU can actually do to make a difference!
What Can I Do To Make A Difference?
Bees matter, so if you find a bee that looks tired or weary mix it up some sugar water in a teaspoon and let it re-hydrate.
Place a small bowl filled with marbles just covered with water in the garden for bees and other insects to drink from without fear of drowning.
Support your “Save the Bees” and buy seeds as gifts, for friends with small or large gardens.
Buy save the bee seeds to plant in your garden and areas outdoors.
If you love a neat garden then think about an area just for wild flowers or slightly more overgrown ‘wild’ space for them.
Plant flowers for year round blooms so there is always food for them, obviously not all flowers bloom all year so here’s a little guide to flowers for longer lasting food for bees and other pollinators.
Crocus, hyacinth, borage and calendulas.
Cosmos, hosta, lavender, oregano, snapdragon and fuscia.
Ivy, zinniums, aster, witch hazel and goldenrod.
Try not to be so precious about keeping your lawn immaculate, let the dandelions grow in spring time as they are some of the earliest flowers to feed the bees. Even better is to turn your entire front lawn into a wild flower garden.
If you love herbs and medicinal herbs these too provide food for bees and pollinating insects so think about adding lavender, thyme, sage, oregano, feverfew and roses to the garden.
Look for single bloom flowers such as Daisy’s, marigolds, blackberry and honeysuckle which produce higher rates of pollen than more hybridised flowers.
Invest in a bee hotel for native bees to nest in, twigs, mud and shelter on low ground all make for an ideal safe spot for mason bees and look for a spot of earth in a sunny spot to nest.
If you only have a window box or tiny balcony space look at varieties of thyme or rosemary mixed with crocus which then provides longer blooms, colour in spring (for you) and food for them as well as culinary herbs for you and flowers for food.
Remember to water them and keep a little saucer of water topped up, with twigs or marbles on it so they have a way out.
Bees love flowers and they look beautiful, if you have space plant a meadow rather than a lawn and delight in the activity you see as many insects, not just bees come to eat. At the end of the summer when all the flowers have finished it can be mowed and turned into sweet meadow hay.