How to make a bee friendly garden

How to make a bee friendly garden

Over the last few years, we have seen a reduction in the population of the bumblebees in and around our gardens. There are many reasons for this fact including extensive use of pesticides, genetically engineered flowers that provide less food, diseases and mites. The sound of a buzzing bumblebee, gently gathering food from the garden is part of the feel of summer that is in danger of being lost unless we all do a little bit to provide safe havens for them and add  more of the kinds of plants that are rich in nectar and pollen that they need to thrive.

What is it that our bumblebee friends do for us in our gardens

Without bumblebees and other bee species visiting our gardens, we could not grow our flowers and crops. As they collect pollen and nectar from our flowers they collect amounts of pollen on their bodies and spread them to nearby ones which enable the flowers to reproduce and make seeds and fruits. Without flowers to come and collect from, the bees cannot survive. To ensure a great continuous crop of summer fruits and vegetables the plant's flowers need to be pollinated.

Here are some interesting bumblebee facts

1.  There are around 275 different species of bumblebee in the world

2.  In the British Isles, we have 24 different species

3.  Bumblebees use nectar produced inside flowers for energy

4.  They collect protein-rich pollen to feed themselves and the rest of the colony

5.  Over the last 100 years, Cullem's and The Short-Haired Bumblebee have disappeared from Britain

6.  The bumblebee's eggs are shaped like small sausages

7.  Bumblebees air condition their nests by flapping their wings

8.  They do not die when they sting and only the females can sting

9.  Bumblebees are not aggressive

10. Bumblebee nests have 300 – 400 residents compared to tens of thousands in a honey bee nest

How you can attract more bumblebees to visit your garden

The easiest way to attract more bumblebees into your garden is to simply plant more of the plants that attract them. These plants should be a mixed variety of flowering plants that flower for the whole of the bumblebee season which starts in the spring and continues through to the autumn when they die and leave only the queen who hibernates until the following year. Here are a few favourite plants that are sure to get your garden buzzing this summer

  1. Phacelia 
  2. Foxgloves
  3. Lavender
  4. Dahlia
  5. Geranium
  6. Poppies
  7. Cotoneaster
  8. Sedum
  9. Borage
  10. Clover

Where can I find these bumblebee attracting flowers

These flowers are all of the bumblebees favourite kinds that are full of the nectar and protein-rich pollen that they are searching for. At your local garden centre, you will find masses of seeds that can be sown in containers or directly into the earth once the soil has warmed up. All of the above-mentioned flowering plants can be bought as seedlings or well-established plants along with compost, garden tools and flower fertilisers that you may need to get your summer, bumblebee attracting garden off to a flying start.

By Garden Centre Guide - mobile