Many plant species are known for their attractiveness to honeybees and are rich in nectar and pollen, they provide a critical habitat for bees and can also improve crop yield and soil health and prevent soil erosion. Bees help to pollinate plants that create the food that we eat but they are under threat. So, what can we do to help them?
Five tips to making your garden or balcony more bee friendly
Creating a beautiful outdoor space on a balcony or in your garden can bring a lot of pleasure to you and it can also create a food source for bees. Make sure you choose containers that comfortably fit in your space and choose plants that do well in containers and can tolerate shallow growing conditions, like Lavender, Thyme and Crocus bulbs.
Use pollen rich flowers
A range of pollen rich flowers, that flower from early spring to late summer – and even early winter, are perfect for attracting bees. Look out for flowers with flat petals or tubular and bell like blooms. Avoid plants with double or multi-petalled flowers because bees will find it difficult to get the nectar.
These are easy and cheap to make and are ideal for those tight spaces where you have little room for pots or traditional planters. They are great for growing strawberries and trailing tomatoes. Herbs and many flowers will also grow happily in them.
Unfortunately, common insecticides containing chemicals called neonicotinoids that can kill bees! They are still approved for home and garden use and are available from most garden centres and DIY shops. Please make sure you read the label and avoid using them. Try organic solutions instead!
Get involved in our ‘Making Space for Nature’ programme
The tips listed above are great for looking after our bee population. And there’s one more thing which you can do all year round to help bees – and that’s to get involved in our ‘Making space for Nature’(MSFN) programme. Please contact [email protected] to find out when our next MSFN forum is.
You can also take part in National Growing for Wellbeing week (1 - 7 June) by emailing [email protected] or calling 07738 738 789 for a free food growing kit for your windowsills, balconies and gardens.