Save the bees this summer
16th June 2021
Bees work very, very hard for us in gardens, on allotments and on farms. These tiny insects pollinate all manner of plants and - guess what - they don’t cost a penny. That’s despite the fact that they do $11-15 billion in work in the USA alone.
So, bees do a lot of work for us but we don’t always repay them as we should. Their numbers are declining here in the UK, so it’s important we do what we can to help support pollinator populations.
“One analysis of the global crop market found that pollinators are essential or highly, moderately, or slightly necessary for 91 crops consumed by humans,“Elina L. Niño told Vice. She explained that, without them, “We would definitely lose many of the foods that make our diets vibrant, healthy, and nutritious.”
So, what can we do to help? These recommendations - from the expert growers at LazyFlora.com - outline some achievable ways to encourage bees in your garden or allotment. Give some of these a go and you’ll be happy in the knowledge that you’ve done your bit for biodiversity and the natural world.
1. Avoid pesticides
The majority of insects are not harmful and there is no place for industrial chemicals in the garden. Some pesticides will remain embedded into the soil affecting other wildlife in the long term. Green fingered Brits should always be wary of using the toxins on the plot as there is normally an effective organic alternative!
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. Leaving just a small part of your plot to grow wild can help pollinators hugely.
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 Brits who really want to invest in saving bees, they could look at picking up a new hobby – beekeeping. Do plenty of research and ensure preparation is done beforehand. Give bees a home and produce organic and locally made honey for all to enjoy.
For more ways to help pollinators, visit friendsoftheearth.uk and request a bee saver kit, or visit greenpeace.org.uk/challenges/bees for more information.
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