So earlier in the week I talked about my love for bees and the fact that they are in decline, therefore threatening our crops with a lack of pollination, amongst other things.
Bees are a sign of how healthy, or not so healthy, our environment is. I mentioned that to help these furry little critters, we need to be more aware of our environment, and to ensure we are doing all we can to help them and reverse the decline. Ways in which we can do this are:
1. To plant flowers that are pollen rich and that bloom from early spring through to winter as the bees need to feed all through that period.
The following are all great for bees and cover the vast amount of the year with blooms for the bees to collect pollen…
■ Flowering herbs like marjoram, chives, sage and thyme.
■ Low growers like crocus, bluebell, snowdrop and nasturtium.
■ Bushy plants like hyssop, hebe, rosemary and lavender.
■ Trees like hawthorn, hazel, holly and willow.
■ Easy edibles like strawberries, tomatoes and beans.
■ Attractive ornamentals like achillea, allium, angelica, echinacea, foxglove and verbena.
you can also create a miniature meadow in a container or your garden with wild flowers, mixed seeds can be purchased at any seed retailer these days and I have even seen them in places such as Wilkinsons. Key colours to plant are blues/purples and yellows as bees are more attracted to these colours.
2. There are more than 200 species of solitary bees (out of 260 species in total still in existence), who do not live in hives, and therefore need somewhere to live. Forty Seven British Bee species are currently under threat of becoming extinct. NONE are protected by law, so it is down to us. Why not create a bee friendly home for them by providing a bundle of hollow plant stems or a luxurious bee hotel, packed with dry logs, untreated timber and soft, crumbly mortar. Many garden centres are selling bee houses now so keep your eyes peeled and pop one in your garden.
3. The other thing bees need is water – so make sure there’s a source nearby like a bird bath or pond, especially on hot days.
4. Choosing local British honey will lend your support to our honey bees
and their bee-keepers. Not only that, but if you suffer from hay fever, local honey is good at helping build your immune system against local pollen, therefore reducing your allergy and symptoms.
5. Encouraging your friends, families and neighbours to do the same will help create bee-friendly communities. Encourage them to plant flowers that are blues and yellows and will bloom all year between the various plants. If you have any communal areas turn tin to a low maintenance meadow patch with wild flowers.
7. If you find a drowsy – bee move it to safety. By holding your index finger in front of it, it will usually lift a leg. Pop your finger underneath the leg and the bee should crawl on, don’t worry if you feel a buzzing sensation or can hear it, its just the wings. Find a safe place in the shade and give a little honey or sugar water to replenish its energy, so it can continue on its travels. Alternatively place it on a flower that is in full flourish so it can feed.
Without bees we’re in trouble. We need to take action now, for the sake of people and wildlife. Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign has already secured a promise from Government for a National Pollinator Strategy. But we need to make sure that the strategy is ambitious enough to reverse bee decline in the UK.
For lots more ideas how to help save Britain’s bees, visit www.foe.co.uk/bees
E-volve Energy – Helping to save the world… one home at a time!