Bees are extremely important to anyone that grows plants. Whether you are a full scale farmer, an allotment gardener, or a home gardener, bees will have their part to play in the quality of crops. Bees carry out the critical task of pollinating dozens of different crops. A statistic I heard on Gardener’s World is that 1 in every 3 mouthfuls of food you eat relies on bees pollinating plants.
Bees for Beans
In my garden, they are pretty much solely responsible for pollinating my runner bean flowers, with each flower producing a nutritious, tasty bean. Whenever I see a bee flying in or out of one of my bean flowers I happily tick off one more bean that will be on my plate on a few weeks.
Declining Bee Populations
As a result of changing farming practices, decline in wildflower numbers and a host of mites and viruses, our bee populations have taken a hit each year for the past few years. I have been advocating the use of bee friendly plants for many years, and now this is as important as it has ever been.
Growing Flowers Is Easy
Low maintenance gardening brings with it concrete slabs and artificial features as people don’t understand how easy it is to brighten up a garden with a few flowers, which in turn provides food for bees.
Having a few wild flowers in your garden is not going to make it high maintenance, so why not do the local bee population a favour! If we continue to remove the flowers that feed our bees, they will have no chance in the long term. The poor summer we have had has not helped either.
Bees Need Our Help
Despite many people buying artificial hives, and bee keepers attempting to expand their stocks, our bees are vulnerable and need your help. There are many ways to introduce bee colonies into our towns and cities, and that is exactly what a whole load of people are now doing. Watch this inspiring Ted Talk about Honey Bees to take a deeper look into this world:
Every City Needs Healthy Honey Bees
I am a fan of Ted Talks because they are short enough to keep my attention and cover a huge range of topics. The following short presentation takes a closer look at how bees do what they do, and how we can help encourage more bees into our towns and cities. More bees equals more pollination equals more food. Simple.
Bees in My Garden
There are many different types of bee that visit our garden, including Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and Solitary Bees. Here you can see a short video of some Honey Bees feeding in my Sedum patch, and a well-timed photo of a Bumble Bee having lunch.
Bring Bees Into Your Garden
Why not introduce a few bee friendly plants into your garden this year? It really will be beneficial for you and your neighbours. As well as introducing wild flowers, there are plenty more way to help your local bees, like restricting the use of pesticides and installing bee accommodation. If you don’t have the means to make big changes, just buy a big pot and sow some bee loving plants (like those on this page) to provide a snack for passing bees.
Bee Friendly Plants
You can buy loads of different plants that are great for bees. As you can see in the photos above, many common garden plants are good for bees, like Cerinthes, Nasturtiums and Clematis. Open-flowered plants like Daisies, Marigolds and Cosmos are also excellent for bees and other insects, as they provide a convenient landing area.
You don’t have to get a Bee Hive to be able to provide a home for bees in your garden. Many beneficial bees are solitary, and almost all bee species need somewhere to snuggle up in the winter. These 2 options are great, being large enough to make a difference, but small enough to comfortably fit into most gardens.
Which Bees Will I See?
The most commonly seen bees include Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and Solitary Bees. There are many species in all these categories, so depending upon where you live, you could see a diverse range of different bees. Up until recently I thought there was only one type of Bumble Bee – I was surprised to find out there are actually 8 species that are pretty common, and a whole host of less common Bumble Bees.