World Bee Day: 8 Easy Ways to Help Bees
Apparently today is World Bee Day 2021. So here are 8 easy ways you can help bees:
1. Fill your garden with nectar-rich flowering plants and trees throughout the year. Choose native species and wildflowers and favour simple, open blooms over double varieties. Bees find these easier to access. Important plants for bees in spring include crocuses, dandelions, and apple blossom. In summer, you’re spoilt for choice but herbs such as lavender and marjoram and scented climbers like honeysuckle are great options. Going into autumn, single dahlias, sedum and ivy all provide important nectar. And winter flowering shrubs such as mahonia are vital for any confused bees who venture out in the winter! Here’s a great page on what to plant for bees and pollinators.
2. Let the grass grow. Not only does a long lawn provide shelter for bees and other insects, but it also allows wildflowers such as clover, dandelions and daisies to thrive – all food sources for bees and other insects.
3. Leave out dead or decaying plant material. A small pile of logs or twigs, dying grass, piles of leaves, all provide vital shelter for bees and other wildlife, especially over winter.
4. Make a rockery or pile of stones. Some species of bees love to nest in cracks in walls or piles of stones.
5. Leave out water. If you don’t have a pond in your garden, consider leaving out a shallow dish of water for bees to drink. Fill it with some pebbles so the water is not too deep and bees can drink safely.
6. Say no to peat. We’ve talked about the problems of peat in our post on Eco-Friendly Gardening Tips. Using peat in the garden results in the destruction of whole ecosystems, as well as the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
7. Say no to chemicals. Pesticides and weed killers are extremely harmful to bees and other wildlife. Look for environmentally friendly alternatives, like hand weeding or the no dig method for dealing with weeds, or attracting natural predators to deal with aphids.
8. Support organic farmers and food producers. According to the Soil Association, 50% more plant, insect and bird life can be found on organic farms.
Globally, there has been a severe decline in bee populations and in the UK alone, 35 species are under threat of extinction. So anything you can do to help bees is seriously worth doing! For more information on bees and the threats they face, see our previous post Bees: Brilliant, Beautiful and Under Threat.
Happy World Bee Day!