The top five Meadowmat wildflowers which could help to save the humble honey bee

Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Email

In the past, bees have had some pretty poor PR. Often percieved as vicious creatures and with aesthetic similarities to the much hated predatory wasp, the humble honey bee has suffered from a bad reputation and a general ignorance of how important they are in our everyday life.

All that is changing and even those people who suffer from Apiphobia (fear of bees) are acknowledging the fact that these humble creatures are enormously beneficial to our food supply and to our economy.

If bees were to become extinct, it’s likely we would lose the valuable plants which they pollinate. Just to put this into perspective; approximately 70% of the essential crop species which feed the human race is pollinated by the bee and it is claimed that honey bees are accountable for around $30 billion worth of crops every year.

What can be done about the decline of bee populations?

The decline in the number of bees has been put down, among other factors, to the decreasing number of flower meadows. Flower-rich land has diminished dramatically in recent years.

Enter Meadowmat.

While we probably can't proclaim ourselves as a miracle cure for the already extinct species of bee in the UK, our Meadowmat wildflower matting has been specifically designed to help cultivate bees and other essential pollinators in the ecosystem.

Bee-friendly wildflowers

Here are our top five meadowmat wildflowers which could help save the humble honey bee:

1. Autumn Hawkbit

bright yellow flower head of autumn hawkbit

Autumn hawkbit.  A welcome splash of colour when many other wildflowers have finished flowering

The Autumn Hawkbit is A beautiful yellow flower which blooms from July to October and is pollinated by the honeybee as well as the solitary bee species.

More about Autumn hawkbit

2. Birds-foot trefoil

 yellow birdsfoot trefoil flowers growing amongst grasses

Birdsfoot trefoil has protein-rich pollen:
perfect for nourishing baby bees and building strong colonies

Birds-foot trefoil, or ‘Lotus corniculatus’, look like birds' feet or claws, as the name suggests. They have a vibrant yellow flower during the months between May and September and are part of the pea family.

More about Birdsfoot trefoil

3. Cranesbill

blue meadow cranesbill flower on a white background

Meadow cranesbill is a pretty blue flower easily identified by its seedhead
which looks like - you guessed it - a crane's beak

Also known as the Geranium, Cranesbill is pollinated by the honey bee as well as short tongued bumblebees, long tongued bumblebees and solitary bees.

More about Meadow cranesbill

4. Clover

 red clover flower and leaves

Red clover has a distinctive white line on each leaf and is beloved of just about every species of bee

The commonly found clover is also key to the meadowmat ecosystem as it is a great plant for the long tongued bumblebee, short tongued bumblebee as well as the honey bee.

More about red clover

5. Viper's Bugloss

blue flowers arranged on the flower spike of vipers bugloss

Blue is one of the more unusual wildflower colours which makes vipers bugloss all the more attractive.
The flowers are said to resemble snakes heads.

Viper's Bugloss is a beautiful addition to the wildflower meadow collection. It has a violet-blue coloured flower which attracts four different bee species including the honey bee.

More about Vipers bugloss

 

Other bee-friendly plants

These five species of wild flowers are by no means the only ones that can support bees.  But did you know that there are many different bee species in the UK?

These species can be subdivided into long-tongued bumblebees, short-tongued bumblebees, solitary bees and honeybees.  Each type of bee seems to have different feeding preferences.

To learn which wildflowers benefit which types of bee, take a look at the table on our plants for bees page.  You'll be surprised at the diversity.

Plants for bees

 

Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Email