It’s a story that’s incredibly worrying – the world population of bees is dwindling dramatically. One third of the UK’s bee population has been lost over the past decade, and a shocking 24% of Europe’s bumblebees are now threatened with extinction. Bees are crucial to humankind, and as such, we should all be doing out bit to help ensure their survival.
Luckily, there are many ways you can help the humble bee by modifying your garden to make it safe for the creatures. In this blog we’ll take a look at some simple steps you can take to make your garden bee-friendly during the autumn months.
Build a woodpile
In autumn, old bee colonies die and newly-mated bumblebee queens look for places to hibernate. They may choose a hole in the ground, a compost heap or even a spot under piles of fallen leaves. Honeybees will venture out to feed during warm, sunny weather. Building a woodpile will offer foraging bees somewhere to shelter under during rainfall, as well as a nesting site for solitary bees. Loosely fill the spaces between logs with twigs, moss and leaves.
Leave a patch of long grass
Leaving a patch of grass to grow long can help the bee population, as long as you don’t discourage mice in your garden. Bumblebees like using old mouse holes and thickets of grass to nest in. Putting away your mower for the winter can help encourage a rich habitat for bees to thrive in. Even cutting your grass less often can help, as can removing the cuttings to allow plants to flower.
Pick the right plants
Opting for bee-friendly plants is a great way to keep your bee population happy. Grow a range of late-flowering nectar plants such as Actaea simplex, asters, single-flowered dahlias and Japanese anemones to offer them a nectar source during the colder months. Planting spring-flowering bulbs in autumn will ensure a good supply of pollen and nectar for queen bumblebees coming out of hibernation. These include snake’s head fritillary, alliums and grape hyacinth.
Become a beekeeper!
This one requires a little more commitment, but there are plenty of companies who can provide beehives to people who wish to house a hive in their own garden. All you need rto do is prove that you have a suitable spot for keeping bees, and they’ll do the rest. After that you can sit back, relax and watch your bees gather water, nectar and pollen as they grow their community. How wholesome!
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