July has proved to be one of the hottest months on record, which means that this can be tough on our local wildlife including wild bees.
There are over 250 bee species in the UK from bumble bees, mining bees and honey bees. Bees pollinate over 90% of the world’s crops so it is vital that we help to keep them thrive
Honey bees for example require a steady supply of water to make honey and for members of their hive. When it is hot rivers, ponds and birdbaths can be a little risky, but there are things that you can do in the garden to help bees quench their thirst.
- Bees don’t like getting their feet wet so a bee watering station made from corks is an ideal option – simply fill a bucket with water add the corks and you have created a landing strip for the bees to land on. Marbles are equally as good if used in a saucer
- Bees are known to bring back as much as a gallon of water to their nest so ensure you keep filling up the birdbath or saucer
- Bee friendly plants are easy to grow – scatter them across the garden so that there is a sufficient amount of supply of pollen throughout the summer – bees love flowers that are yellow, purple of blue – avoid plants that are ‘double’ or have extra petals
- Allow some weeds to grow such as dandelions which bees find particularly appealing
- Avoid chemical fertilisers and chemicals as these are the biggest killers of bees – the biggest disappearance of bees over the last 20 years coincides with the increasing use of chemicals.
- Bees require secure places to live – dead trees, branches and abandoned animal burrows make excellent places for bees to build a nest – leave a small saucer filled with fresh water close to the shelter and then create nesting and overwintering spots for pollinators
- If you see a bee looking dazed feed it water and sugar, hopefully this will revive it quickly, don’t feed it honey
- Plant through the seasons to provide a source of food for bees – small trees like hazel and holly help bees at different times of the year. Ivy is a good food for Autumn so try not to cut it back until after flowering. Spring – daffodils, hawthorn, flowering cherry, crab apple. Summer – lavender, foxgloves lupins. Autumn – single flower-dahlias, autumn Asters, Japanese Anemones. Winter – snowdrops, Ivy, Winter honeysuckle, crocuses
- Cutting the grass less often gives pollinators shelter and a place to feed – raise the notches on the mower to lift the cutting blade a few centimeters
- Support local bee-keepers who are best known for nurturing these on-site bee communities, but they often rescue swarming beehives too, which protects the colony from extermination.
Bramhope and the surrounding areas has some wonderful gardens that are ideal areas for bees to thrive, David and I are certainly enjoying seeing the bees around the plants in the garden, so hopefully doing our bit too to save them from extinction.
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