Ways to make your garden more bee-friendly

Bees are vital to our existence due to their important role in global food production but their numbers are dwindling. Here are a few ways to make your garden more bee-friendly and ensure their survival.

1)    Plant bee-friendly flowers

Plant flowers that bloom at different times of the year and provide plenty of nectar. Flowers that are known to attract bees to your garden include Forget-Me-Nots, geranium, honeysuckle, sunflowers, tulips, lavender, basil, sage, thyme, borage and echinacea. Make sure to your plants together in blocks of about one metre square and in sunny but sheltered locations.

Bees are largely attracted by yellow, white, blue and purple flowers, so keep that it mind when creating your bee haven. Avoid certain plants such as wormwood, venus fly traps, pansies and double begonias as they tend to repel bees or offer little to no pollen or nectar.

It’s also important to allow at least part of your garden to grow wild and leave an area of your garden unmowed, keeping flowering weeds, clovers and dandelions as foraging sources for bees.

2)    Avoid pesticides

Avoid chemical pesticides and weed killers in your garden and ensure that you only buy organic plants that haven’t been treated with any bee-toxic chemicals.

3)    Provide fresh water sources

Provide shallow water sources for thirsty bees such as a bird bath or water feature. You can leave out water dish filled with rocks for bees to stand on.

4)    Bee shelters/hotels

Find out whether your garden centre or local nursery sells bee shelters. You can also create your own by simply drilling holes into the side of a log.

A bee hotel is a temporary shelter and you can create your own by taking a 2 litre plastic bottle, cutting off both ends to create a cylinder and tightly pack the cylinder with thin lengths of bamboo. Ensure that your bamboo lengths are at least 3cm shorter than the bottle to protect them from rain. Sandpaper the ends of the bamboo to ensure that there aren’t any sharp edges. Once you’re done simply hang your bottle up near bee-friendly flowers.


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Written by Taryn Hill

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