Did you know that there are more than 200 species of bee in the UK? Only one of them is the honeybee, and just over 20 are bumblebees. The rest are solitary bees.
Gardens offer some of the most important habitats for the wide variety of bees found in the UK. There are a few simple things every gardener can do to help save the bees by making their garden more wildlife-friendly. From the simplest steps such as planting bee-friendly plants to creating a bee hotel in your garden, here are five easy ways you can help the bees by creating a bee-friendly garden.
1. Make a wild corner
If your garden has a south-facing bank, consider leaving it as a wild corner – it could offer great nest sites for warmth-loving solitary bees.
2. Provide shelter
Sheltered, shady corners that are out of the way are much more attractive to bumblebees. Include a few upturned/broken plant pots with some points of entry for added shelter.
3. Plant for the seasons
Make sure you have plenty of bee-friendly blooms, with at least two in flower at any given time from spring to autumn.
4. Find the right flowers
Next time you visit a garden centre, think like a bee.
- Spring: bluebell, dicentra, crocus, viburnum, lungwort, pussy willow, crocus
- Early summer: Campanula, allium, borage, catmint, globe thistle, poppy, sweet pea, thyme
- Late summer: Buddleia, cornflower, echinacea, foxglove, honeysuckle, lavender, nasturtium
5. Create a bee hotel
Tie together a bunch of bamboo canes or drill 5–10mm holes into a block of wood.
Hang it around head height in a sunny, south-facing spot to provide a home for solitary bees.