With the UK’s 250 bee species under threat from loss of habitat, climate change and disease the RSPB is asking people with gardens to provide havens for these vital creates by planting flowers and creating shelters.
Paul Stephen, biodiversity advisor for the RSPB, said: “Sadly, the UK’s bee populations are in decline, but planting the right mix of flowers, shrubs and bushes will help reverse this. And plants rich in nectar and pollen will not just be welcoming to bees – they are great for anyone looking to enjoy a garden full of life and colour.”
There are five easy steps that homeowners with gardens can take to help turn things around:
Choose the right plants
Certain plants are more attractive to bees than others because they produce high levels of nectar and pollen. Examples include poppies, lavender, heather, geraniums, foxgloves and fruit trees.
Don’t let them go thirsty
Like all creatures, bees need water. A pond, water feature or bird bath in your garden can provide vital hydration during the warm summer months. A source of water is good for birds and other wildlife in your garden too.
Open your own Bee &B
While we often think of bees living in hives, many UK species are solitary, nesting instead in small holes in the earth or in wood. You can buy specially-made bee hotels in garden centres or make your own from bamboo cane. Make sure you place it in a warm sheltered spot, near nectar-rich flowers.
Look out for struggling bees
If you see a bee that’s struggling to fly, it may be exhausted. You can help revive tired bees by making a solution of two tablespoons of granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water and placing it close to the bee’s head.
Chemicals to keep down pests such as aphids can be harmful to bees too. Avoid spraying open flowers with pesticides. Instead, add plants such as marigold or garlic that can repel troublesome insects.