Homebuilder, David Wilson Homes North West, is encouraging people to make their garden a haven for our fuzzy friends, by planting flowers to attract them and making small changes to their garden to give bees somewhere to shelter.
There are over 250 bee species in the UK, and most face threats such as loss of habitat, climate change and disease. They are vital to the food chain, with one in every three mouthfuls of food consumed by humans dependent on pollination, including apples, pears, onions, potatoes, cherries, chilies, carrots, margarine and herbs.
Lynton Dudgeon, Sales Director at David Wilson Homes North West, said: “We want to raise awareness of the threat faced by bees and by all doing our bit to plant nectar rich plants to benefit them we can help combat some of the issues faced by bees.”
The homebuilder's top bee-friendly tips are:
1: Sow the seeds for bees
Certain types of plants are more attractive for bees than others. Bee-friendly plants produce high levels of nectar and pollen, and include poppies, lavender, heathers, geraniums, foxgloves and fruit trees. David Wilson Homes North West plants a range of nectar and pollen rich plants at its developments across the county to help boost the population of bees around its new homes.
2: Water is the bees knees
Like all creatures, bees need to drink too. Adding a pond, water feature or bird bath to your garden will give them a hydrating boost in the warm summer months, as well as benefitting other wildlife in your garden too.
3: Build a bee B&B
Many of the UK's bee species are solitary which mean they do not create a bee-hive and opt to nest either in the ground or in small holes found in wood. Provide nesting sites for solitary bees in a specially made bee hotel. These can be purchased ready-made or constructed from bamboo cane make a collection of small wooden tunnels for bees to nest in. All you need to do is put your shelter in a warm sheltered spot, close to nectar rich flowers.
4: Keep an eye out for tired bees
Bees can struggle in both hot and cold weather, and if you see a bee on the ground finding it difficult to fly it could be suffering from exhaustion. When out and about in your garden this summer look out for tired bees which may need reviving.
Never give a bee honey to revive it, as they can catch viruses if the honey is from a neighbouring hive. Instead make a solution of two tablespoons of white granulated sugar with one tablespoon of water and place near the bees head on a plate or spoon. Once it has had a drink it should regain its energy and fly back to its hive.
5: Hold off on pesticides
While it can be tempting to reach for chemicals to keep pests such as aphids at bay, these can be harmful to all species of bees. Avoid spraying open flowers with pesticides and instead combat pests by planting certain plants such as marigold or garlic to repel them.
Lynton continued: “These small steps can create a welcoming environment for bees. As bee numbers decline in the UK it is more important than ever that we take action to help the critters out wherever we can.”
Paul Stephen, Biodiversity Advisor for the RSPB, said: “We are asking everyone to help give nature a home as even a few small touches can make a big difference for wildlife. Gardens can be a fantastic space for families to relax or play and we would like to see people feel inspired to do something for nature.
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, but will look great for anyone looking to enjoy a garden full of life and colour.”