You have probably read or heard the quote several times, “Once the bee disappears from the earth, man has only four years to live.” Some people say it’s from Albert Einstein, others don’t agree. But the important thing here is that these insects provide a vital service by pollinating the plants that produce much of our food. They also pollinate the wildflowers that in turn feed the insects that drive the food chain. By helping bees, we help wildlife – and ourselves. We give you helpful tips for bee-friendly gardens (see images below) – how to design them to attract those all-important bees.
Table of Contents
- Why do bees need help?
- Design bee-friendly garden – tips
Why do bees need help?
In many parts of the world, pollinators are fewer and fewer. The reasons are complex, but they range from agricultural techniques to urban sprawl to the loss of wildflower meadows.
If you want to help bees, creating a bee garden is one of the best projects you can tackle this year. We’ll tell you another good idea: you can adopt a hive! You’ll find plenty of ways to adopt a bee online.
Design a bee-friendly garden – tips
If you garden in harmony with nature, you should be able to avoid chemical pesticides and weed killers. Instead, opt for pest control using natural means , such as netting and garden fleece. Grow the most important plants in combination: Marigolds and tomatoes repel aphids and black flies, garlic among roses deters aphids, nasturtiums attract aphids away from cabbage plants.
Bee-friendly plants for the garden and front yard.
Bee-friendly flowers attract pollinators and make your garden an important place for them. Plan for a succession of flowers so that after one blooms, another begins. By providing a constant supply of pollen and nectar, you’ll keep bees in your location year-round. You should opt for single flowers rather than double flowers. A wide range of flowers in your garden , including many trees and shrubs, will provide a greater feast for your bees. If you have a small garden, consider growing seasonal, bee-friendly container and potted plants.
Plants that bloom in the spring provide food for honeybees awakening from hibernation. Suitable plants include:
- Hawthorn, blossoms of apple, cherry, and plum trees, and other plants such as crocus, bluecissus, bluebells, laburnum, lungwort, willow, dandelion, marjoram, primrose, and daffodil.
Bee-friendly flowering plants in summer are:
- Clover, marigold, borage, eggplant, forget-me-not, strawberry, chives, phacelia, hardy golden balm, lavender, comfrey, foxglove, summer lilac, allium, catnip, hollyhock, globe thistle, poppy, chickweed and thyme, cornflower, coneflowers, nasturtium and ivy
- Autumn: abelia, honeysuckle, sedum, wallflower, sage, field bean, white deadnettle, yarrow
- Winter: Snowdrop, mahonia, ivy, winter monkshood, rosemary, raspberry, lesser celandine, hellebore.
Blue bee friendly flowers
Bees see in the ultraviolet spectrum, which makes blue, purple and white plants particularly attractive to them. Red flowers are the least attractive.
Design bee-friendly garden and don’t forget water
Like us humans, bees need water. It is essential for honeybees to make food for their young and keep their hive cool and moist. During the summer months, they collect water.
Fill a bucket or bowl with water – preferably rainwater – and place a few rocks in it that are large and sturdy enough to provide a safe place for the bees to drink. If you float old wine corks on the surface of the water, the bees will also have something to land on.
Shrubs and trees are very important
A single, flowering linden tree provides the same amount of forage as 3,000 square feet of wildflowers. If space allows, bee-friendly plantings should begin with a framework of permanent, year-round forage from shrubs and trees.
Design a bee-friendly garden – mow the lawn properly.
By letting some corners of your garden go a little wild, you’ll create a valuable habitat for bees. For example, let the grass grow longer in the winter and leave the hollow stems of perennials uncut to provide extra protection.
Mowing the lawn less often also allows low-growing lawn flowers such as clover and daisies to bloom longer, which in turn provides more foraging opportunities for bees. Apply this low-impact method to your entire lawn or to specific areas.
Build a bee hotel – DIY.
A great way to support honey bees in your garden is to provide for their needs. With our step-by-step instructions, you can build a bee hotel or bee house.
You will need:
- Several bamboo sticks or cardboard tubes, several large plastic bottles, string or brown parcel tape, and scissors.
- A green spot to set up the hotel.
- Cut the plastic bottle with scissors just below the neck.
- Cut the bamboo or cardboard to approximately the length of the remaining bottle.
- Fill the bottle with the bamboo or cardboard until they are packed tightly enough to stay in the bottle.
- Tie the bamboo sticks together with twine or brown tape if they are a little loose.
Find a green, sunny, sheltered spot because bees love the sun and place it just above the ground so it doesn’t end up in the shade too soon. If you want it higher than a few feet, run some string through it first and tie both ends so it can be hung from a fence or gate post.
You can build a more elaborate and sturdy version by making a box for the bamboo instead of the plastic bottle.