Is there a more dreary month than January? If, like us, you’re sick of the cold and the dark, why not look ahead to sunnier times by planning to turn your outside space into a haven for bees?
Gardens, allotments and community gardens can all play a huge role in helping bees thrive in urban areas, according to University of Bristol researchers.
Making up a quarter to a third of the area of UK cities, gardens are far more attractive to bees than open parks, as they typically host a greater number of nectar-rich flowers and weeds.
Bees tend to be buzzing around mostly between March and September, so here are some things you can do to help them get ahead this spring.
Whether you have a garden or a balcony of plant pots, the easiest thing to do is buy a pack of assorted wild flower seeds and scatter them in the soil.
Lavender, borage, dandelions, thistles, brambles and buttercups are all particularly important plant species in urban areas, the researchers found.
Create A Bee Hotel
Bee hotels are spaces where bees can nest – they should be at least a metre off the ground and ideally sheltered from any rain. Friends of the Earth suggests you can make one out of an old plastic bottle by stuffing it with nesting materials made lengths of twigs and stems.
Full instructions can be found here.
Give Them Water
Bees also need to drink and they prefer rainwater. If you’re lucky enough to have a pond, planting flat-leaved plants like waterlilies can give bees somewhere to land. Or, if you have a smaller-sized outdoor space, filling a tray with water and a few stones can help it look appealing (and may help other wildlife too, such as birds). Adding a few floating corks can help to make it ultra-insect friendly, as it gives them somewhere to land.