Beehive in a domestic garden with wildflower meadow

 

 

 

 

Meadowmat's Angela Lambert keeps honeybees in her back garden and is in no doubt that the fruit and veg she grows yield better because the bees are there.  She's also keen for her grandchildren to grow up understanding where food comes from and why we need to understand and nurture precious ecosystems.

Having said that, not everyone has the time or inclination to have an extra 60,000 "pets" to look after.  If you value bees, but don't want a whole hive of them, here are some ideas that you can put in place cheaply and easily.

 

 

3 steps to turn your garden into a bee haven

Bee-killing pesticides and the disappearance of Britain's wildflower meadows has led to a dramatic decrease in bee numbers. This matters because these industrious little insects do more than create honey. They pollinate fruit, grains and other crops and an estimated 50-80% of the world's food supply can be linked directly or indirectly to the humble bee.

Bees need our help more than ever before, and below are three simple ways you can attract them and other pollinating insects into your garden.

1. Create a bee hotel

Solitary bees will need somewhere to lay their eggs. Tying a bundle of bamboo canes together is an easy way of creating a bee-friendly environment. Position your bee house in a sunny spot, preferably out of the rain and within close proximity to pollen-rich flowers. The hollow bamboo canes are the perfect spot for bees to lay their eggs, and you will know you have a bee in residence when you can see mud, leaves or fluff blocking the tubes. When the cane is filled up right to the end you could see 6 to 10 baby bees emerge next spring.

2. Go wild

Britain's wildflower meadows were the ideal habitat for bees, with the long grass providing shelter and pollen-rich flowers providing sustenance. Sadly, these meadows are now almost non-existent. Our Meadowmat products can help to recreate an authentic wildflower meadow, with the native grasses and flowers which bees need to thrive.

You could also consider leaving a corner of your garden untouched. The trend for heavily manicured lawns and regimented gardens is not good for bees, so leaving a small area to go wild could entice bees, butterflies and other insects into your garden.

3. Be bee-safe

One of the main reasons for the decline in bee numbers is thought to be  the use of pesticides, with those containing neonicotinoids regarded by some as being especially harmful. The best way of ensuring you are not harming bees is to use natural, rather than chemical, methods of protecting your crops. Manually removing undesired pest species or introducing natural predators can be effective ways of keeping your crops healthy without harming bees.

 

Choosing bee-friendly plants

 

 

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