Bees are amazing little creatures that are disappearing rapidly, and not just the honeybees (who make the delicious honey) but all the bees. So, there are ways we can help the bee population at home, by doing a few simple things.
- Choose plants to grow in your own garden that bees love, like plants with single, open flowers for easy access to the pollen and nectar. Like Salvia species which are sun loving plants, Echinacea are rich in nectar, Cosmos have edible flowers, Sedum species are hardy and easy to care for and make great cut flowers, and finally you could look at verbena species which thrive in full sun and will attract many pollinators.
- Everyone gets rid of pesky weeds to have that perfect garden, however bees love weeds. So, a suggestion is to choose an area, preferable in the sun and keep those weeds in that area. Many plants like dandelion, for example, are an excellent source of food for bees. In early spring, those “weeds” are often the only source of food for beneficial insects.
- Avoid using pesticides. These can be lethal to bees. Use natural treatments instead. If you buy new plants for the bees, make sure the supplier didn’t pre-treat them with insecticide.
- Bees also need water to stay healthy and productive. A great idea is to either have a water feature or if you don’t have that, a bowl of water, and make sure you leave something in there for landing on, such as a twig, leaf or cork, because bees can drown in water and they don’t like getting their feet wet.
- A tired bee really does like a tiny hit of sugar (never honey!) Mix of two teaspoons of white granulated sugar with one teaspoon of water and put it on a plate or drip it on a flower, to revive a tired bee. Make sure to always use white granulated sugar rather than other sugar. Sometimes you might see a bee lying on the ground and not moving, but it is probably just resting.
- When choosing honey – try to go for something local, from individual beekeepers who practice sustainability. This way you know where your honey is coming from and can cut down on the carbon emissions used to ship honey to your local supermarket.
- Educate yourself and your children about bees. Bees are not dangerous; they forage on a flower and don’t attack humans. By better understanding them we will learn to better respect them.
- If you fancy helping bees even more, learn how to become a beekeeper and install a hive in your garden or on your rooftop. It’s a powerful way to give honeybees a home and probably the best local honey you will ever get!
We have just installed a bee house in our garden. What are you doing to help bees at home?