Although the weather can’t make it’s mind up, Spring has certainly arrived with some welcomed guests. Those dreary cold days are slowly drifting by and gorgeous Spring plants and flowers are sprouting everywhere. It’s something about this time of year that is calming, therapeutic almost. Maybe it’s the lighter days or knowing warmer weather is on it’s way.
One thing that certainly marks Springs arrival is our Bumblebees. They are vital for pollinating our wild flowers and crops, but unfortunately these beautiful insects are in decline. In the UK there are 267 species of bee, 25 of which are species of Bumblebee. The most common ones found in our gardens are:
Garden Bumblebee Bombus Hortorum
Early Bumblebee Bombus Pratorum
Common Carder Bee Bombus Pascuorum
Images from Blooms for Bees
We know we’ve certainly seen a few buzzing away, have you?
If not, is your garden bee friendly? If it isn’t it is easily fixed. Here’s some tips to entice these beauties to where you can see them.
Space Assess the space you have to work with. Not everyone has the luxury of a large garden but even a planter pot on the outside of your window or some hanging baskets would do the trick. If you have a large space to work with a pond would be a perfect habitat for many insects, not just bumblebees.
Plant bee friendly flowers and crops Such as Lavender, Apples and Peppers.
Plant a variation of early Spring to late Autumn flowers This will help provider buzzy friends with the needed nectar and pollen throughout the season
Plant flowers which vary in shape Our different bumblebee species have evolved varied characteristics, such as their tongue length, which make them more adapted to foraging on certain types of flowers. By planting different shaped flowers it will provide food for a wider range of bumblebee species.
Build or buy a bee/bug house This will provide the bees and any other insects you’re inviting into your garden a dedicated nest.The key is the house is made out of a natural material such as untreated wood, as the use of plastic could potentially harm the insects, plus the natural material will easily blend into your garden.
Refrain from the use of Pesticides Pesticides harm our bees and other important insects in our ecosystem. Another step is to use pesticide free plants and seeds.
If you are unsure when shopping for your seeds, the bee friendly range is usually stamped with the RHS Perfect for Pollinators logo. You can also find more advice on helping bees in your area on Bug Life and The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.