For many centuries mankind has sought to entice bees to their gardens. The reason? Bees are one of nature’s most efficient pollinators. In fact, the honey bee accounts for approximately 80% of all the pollination carried out by insects. Subsequently, by inviting bees to nest in your back yard you can substantially improve the production of your home-grown flowers, plants, herbs and crops; as well as receiving a sustainable source of delicious honey! So if you have been considering keeping bees or simply wish to boost the pollinating power of your plants, then listed below are several simple yet highly effective tips on how you can attract bees to your garden.
Plant bee-friendly wildflowers
Local bees will be far more likely to flock to your garden if you have planted numerous flowers that they can pollinate! As such it is recommended that you plant a broad spectrum of different wildflowers in your garden that are indigenous to your local area. These wildflowers will successfully attract a diverse range of different bee and insect species to your garden. If you are unaware of the particular types of wildflowers that are native to your area then you should contact your local garden centre, DIY store or beekeeping association for targeted advice and support.
Provide your local bees with a water source
Bees are unable to land in deep water and as such are drawn to shallow areas wherein they can bathe and quench their thirst without placing themselves in unnecessary danger. Subsequently you should create a bee-friendly water source in your garden. From installing a bird bath that you only fill half-way to placing a shallow water dish in amongst your flowerbeds, by providing local bees with a safe and plentiful water source they will be sure to return to your garden and bring along their friends!
Plant single petal flowers
Did you know that flowers that possess a single row of petals are more attractive to bees than any other plant types? This is due to the fact that these single petal flowers generate more pollen than any others and their pollen is far easier for bees to reach because they only have to crawl across one row of petals. Consequently you should endeavour to plant as many single petal flowers in your garden as possible to increase your local bee population. Amongst some of the most popular single petal flowers include; roses, sunflowers, dahlias, snowdrops, geraniums, hyacinths, marigolds and poppies, as well as commonplace weeds such as dandelions and clovers.
Refrain from using pesticides and other chemical products
Neonicotinoid pesticides are present in the majority of plant and lawn treatment products that you can buy at your local DIY store or garden centre. In recent years a wave of scientific research has linked these pesticides to colony collapse disorder; a condition that has drastically reduced the global population of both domestic and wild bee colonies. It is suggested that these pesticides can disrupt the instinctual navigation traits of bees and even heighten their vulnerability to a wealth of different illnesses. Therefore it is vital that, in order to protect the welfare of local bees and to attract them to your garden, you should avoid using pesticide treatments on your plants, flowers, trees and allotment crops and only invest in organically produced, chemical-free products.
Create a bee shelter
Everyone needs a roof over their heads in the evenings and during poor weather conditions – even bees! As a result you should install a bee-house within your garden. Whether you decide to invest in an extensive beekeeping structure, a modest bee hotel or even layer a small wooden box with nesting tubes, these shelters will invite local bees to establish their hive within your back garden and even generate honey whilst there!