Garden Friends that Need your Help
Here is an important yet little known fact: if our native bees die out we will lose a third of our diet. Bees are essential in pollinating the crops that form our food, and also the wild plants that grow across the country and provide food for much of our wildlife; without bees, the very fabric of our lives will change considerably.
Of the 25 remaining native species of bee in the UK a number are already under serious threat. Bear in mind also that this figure is half the number we played home to just fifty years ago. What can you do to help save our bees? Let’s have a look at some simple ideas:
- Plant the right plants: bees like certain plants better than others – witness the low buzz you hear when standing next to a flowering buddleia or rhododendron. Cornflowers, sunflowers and a good garden wild flower mixture are also popular with bees, and they are also partial to poppies and flowering fruit trees.
- Don’t use insecticide: among the many suggestions as to why our native bees are in such rapid decline is the belief that they have been affected by insecticides. The casual use of pesticides is something that we should be wary of in gardens as a rule as it can also affect birds and other wild animals.
- Become a bee-keeper: more and more people are turning to the joys of bee keeping and installing their own hives in gardens across the UK. This is a hobby that is not expensive and one that offers great enjoyment for those who love nature and the outdoors, and remember the benefits of honey bees – you get natural honey! If you have a garden or plot that you believe may be suitable for bee-keeping there is plenty of information on the subject across the internet.
- Put up a bee house: if a hive is not for you there are ways to build ‘bee houses’ that offer refuge for bees and hibernation spots for the winter months. You can buy these at garden centres, or build one yourself following plans on the internet.
- Learn more about bees: rather than being a garden pest you should begin to see bees as an essential part of the overall fabric of life. These beautiful and very wonderful creatures live an interesting and surprisingly organised life and, if left to their own devices, are harmless to us. Learn more about the life of bees by reading about them as much as you can, and encourage others to do the same.
The plight of our bees is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a natural crisis, but the end result should we lose them would be more catastrophic than you may believe.