How to attract Bees in your garden
Bees play an essential role in the ecosystem. They not only collect nectar (to make honey) but also help with pollinating your plants
Sadly, bees are slowly becoming an endangered species on earth, with their numbers dwindling significantly. You, however, can help increase the populations of bees too. Here are 5 ways you can help.
1. Quit using chemicals in your garden
While bees may be attracted to flowers in your garden, using chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides can adversely impact a bee colony. Unknown to many, most of these pesticides will affect/kill both good and harmful insects. In addition, bees might not know if you have already sprayed such chemicals on your plants. It would be advisable to avoid these chemicals and instead consider natural alternatives for the same.
2. Lure the Bees in
Bees are always on the hunt for good nectar; hence they won’t pass a good opportunity. In addition to practicing organic farming, introducing plants that leafcutter bees find naturally attractive, such as catmint and scabious, can help lure them to your garden. The bees will thus feed on both their favorites and other flowers in the garden too.
3. Allow flowery leaves to grow once in a while
As dumb as it might sound, embracing weeds can be a good thing for bees, and especially if these are flowering weeds. Clover and dandelion are examples of weeds you can choose to tolerate in your garden for the good of the bees and your garden plants as well.
If you want to contain your weeds then perhaps use wild seeds and place them in containers along your decking or patio. These wildflowers are cheap and easy to grow and also really add a sprinkle of color in the summer. They can be placed in front of greenhouses or even beside underneath patio heaters – this can take the attention off these heaters in the more organic garden space according to Patiomate.
4. Offer them s ‘Drink’
Bees tend to fly over long distances, searching for nectar, a new hive, or even a favorite flower during summer and in spring. Bumblebee queens, for example, have to rest for at least 30 minutes before taking to the air again. Long flights can be particularly exhausting and famishing for most of the queen bees, which is why some help will be of great help for the colony.
According to Bumblebee Conservation Trust, offering the bees (especially the queen), a drink will go a long way in saving the colony. The trust recommends mixing equal volumes of water and white sugar, then place the mixture in an open bowl, upturned bottle caps, or a bird drinker. You, however, need to be careful not to add too much sugar to the solution, as doing so might harm the bees too -surprised!
You also do not want to use honey in the mixture. While it might seem the right thing to do, most manufacturers will add chemicals (preservatives) to honey to make it last longer. While the preservatives might not be harmful to humans, they certainly are to native bees.
5. Consider Beekeeping as a hobby/job
Beekeeping is such an honorable job, with many people taking it up as a hobby and eventually a full-time job. One of the benefits of this hobby is that you get to eat your own freshly produced and natural honey, free from nasty chemicals or preservatives. Almost everyone can become a beekeeper. All you need is a little training from the local beekeeping associations for tips on how to do it safely. You can also join a community of beekeepers for help and insight into succeeding in the same.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.