Horticulture specialists LazyFlora.com have compiled a bee-saving guide to encourage green-fingered homeowners to protect these important insects.
Brits are being urged to make their gardens more hospitable in a bid to save the bees. Horticulture specialists at LazyFlora.com offer top tips for homeowners to protect buzzing bees and help our fragile ecosystem.
The world has seen a slow but steady decline in the number of bees since the 1990s due to the widespread use of toxic pesticides, which can not differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ insects.
Climate change has also dealt a devastating blow to the global bee population, as some species don’t cope well with very hot temperatures. They literally overheat.
But as a third of all consumed food is dependent on bees and other pollinating bugs, they play a vital role in our ecosystem. The alternative is pollinating by hand, which is an arduous and expensive task. This would also inevitably lead to a surge in food costs.
Says LazyFlora.com: “Bees are not only extremely important for humans, but also for entire ecosystems. Even Albert Einstein is sometimes quoted as saying ‘If the bee disappears from the face of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live.’
“So, the worldwide decline we have seen recently is a cause for serious concern.
“Fortunately, we can all be doing our part to help cultivate the population of bees. We’ve listed some of our favourite tips below.”
How to save the bees
1. Avoid pesticides
Some pesticides remain embedded in the soil affecting other wildlife in the long term. The majority of insects are not harmful so there generally little need for industrial chemicals in the garden.
Green fingered Brits should always be wary of using the toxins even for casual use, unless absolutely necessary.
2. Prioritise plants for pollinators
Certain plants are much more likely to attract bees to the garden, so do some research before you plant to find the perfect match. Lavender, oregano and basil all produce lots of nectar and will be covered in happy, hungry bees.
Alternatively, reserve a portion of your garden for a wildflower meadow or dedicate an area of lawn to native wildflowers only, as this is ideal habitat for pollinators.
3. Plant fruit trees
Fruit trees are often the first source of pollen that appears each year, providing a rich source of high-quality pollen for bees.
4. Do not weed
Weeds can be a nuisance however they do have their purpose. Plants such as dandelions are a brilliant source of food for bees when other food is scarce, especially in early spring as there is only a limited range of sources available.
5. Quench thirst
Even those with limited space can do their part by installing a small water basin for bees to satisfy thirst during the heights of summer. Just remember to add a couple of stones and floating objects such as a cork so the bees don’t drown.
6. Keep bees
For those who really want to invest in saving bees, look to taking up a new hobby – beekeeping. Research and ensure preparation is done beforehand. Give bees a home and produce organic and locally made honey for all to enjoy.