Bzzz, bzzzzz … the bees are about!
And they’re headed for your garden this Spring and Summer.
On their journey from garden to garden, each bee visits between fifty and one hundred flowers on a single trip, collecting nectar and pollen. A single bee’s forage produces around one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime … which doesn’t seem that much!
And yet, there is always a great supply of honey countrywide; our bees are certainly busy.
How can you keep your garden bee friendly?
If you’re a bee-fan like we are (beeswax is a key component in our wraps and we also love honey, mmmm), you might be wondering how you can make your garden just that little bit more bee-friendly.
We’ve gathered some top tips on how to make your little garden oasis a more bee-welcoming zone. Be prepared for a little more buzz in your backyard!
Plant bee friendly flowers
You’d think all flowers would be bee-friendly, but some beauties with big petals actually make it harder for the little workers to get in to that precious nectar region. The solution? Go for open plants and flowers that are great for pollination. Your local garden centre may offer a guide for the best bee blossoms. Some very popular bee plants include sunflowers, borage, calendula, echinacea, cosmos and dahlias.
Ditch the chemicals
It’s super tempting to spray your blooms with a spray from the garden centre to keep them in tip-top shape. However, it’s much better to let nature take course and let them grow as they are within their natural ecosystem. One main reason to do so is because pesticides can harm bees. It can poison them, leaving them struggling and confused, and unable to find their way back to their bee hive. This can lead a collapse of their colony. Avoid chemicals on your plants at all costs. A very successful alternative is boiling water, simply pour it over your weeds a couple of times, they’ll be brown before you know it! Boiling water works the same way as weed killer but without chemicals and poisons.
Give them a drink
Bees are thirsty creatures! With their travelling back and forth between gardens, and the hot temperatures they must endure, they need water as much as we do. Having a water supply in your garden will make the space really attractive to them as a known source for that good old H2O. A bird bath, small pond or even just a little shallow bowl filled with water will deliver a safe resource for them to satisfy their thirst. Add small stones or marbles to the bowl or bath that rest just above the water level, it’s good for the bees to have somewhere to land while they drink.
Build them a habitat
Many of Australia’s native bee species are solitary bees; these means they don’t have queens or workers, and instead they mate and have their own individual nest. This can mean that often they’re on the lookout for a home to call their own. If you’re open to the idea of having bees living on your land for a few months, why not create them a safe place for accommodation in the garden? You can make a DIY ‘bee hotel’ or buy a readymade one. Over the warmer seasons, the bees will make nests, lay their eggs and be sheltered from the weather.
We love these Bee Hotels from The Woodsman Australia on Etsy. They believe in using sustainable materials and practices, which we’re fully on board with! Each bee house is handmade from organic waste and upcycled timbers.
The Woodsman locally ‘harvest’ untreated timbers that unfortunately would otherwise have headed to landfill. They treat them with care and restore them into wonderful bee hotels!
A bee hotel from them might once have been a wall, a desk, or a bench … there are so many possibilities. We love their quote, “We like to think that we find wood with a story, and add a new chapter to it.”
Check them out on Etsy here.
Let your garden go wild
If there’s a little patch of land in your garden that you’d be open to leaving to go a bit wild, it’s a great opportunity for the bees. This sort of area is ideal for bee nesting sites. Some bees like to make nests in long grass, or compost heaps or below hedges. Wild plants, like dandelions, are great for nectar and pollen. A little patch of wild shrubbery can go a long way.
How have you made your garden bee friendly, or what are you planning to do with your little patch over the warmer months this year? We’d love to hear all about it!