How to attract bees to your garden
In order to help out the UK honeybee population it is important that we make our gardens as bee-friendly as possible. There are lots of things you can do, from planting specific flowers to setting up your own hive.
Single-flowered plants are most attractive to bees because they are easy to get in and out of. Flowers that are too showy with a lot of petals may be ignored by bees. If you want to grow roses in your garden, choose a single-flowered type such as the field rose or dog rose.
It’s also a good idea to plant flowers that are going to bloom in early spring and last through to autumn. The succession of blooms will ensure there is enough pollen and nectar to last for months.
Flowers known to attract honeybees include geraniums, dahlias, hyacinths, crocuses and tubular flowers such as foxgloves and snapdragons.
There are also different colours known to attract bees. Try planting flowers in various shades of pink, purple, orange and yellow.
Another way to keep bees in your garden, without the hassle of your own beehive, is to make a bee house. There are many resources online showing how you can create your own or they can be bought from places such as Green Gardener.
To make your own you can cut some bamboo cane down into 20cm pieces and bundle them together. Websites such as Buglife can give you a step-by-step guide to help you along. Solitary bees, such as mason and leafcutter bees, may visit if your bee house is hung in a tree. Bumblebees prefer to be closer to the ground.
Honeybees probably won’t visit these bee houses, but the others that do will help to pollinate your garden and leave it looking fresh and attractive.
Your own beehive
If you are thinking about keeping honeybees then the rewards are amazing, but you must invest in the proper equipment and training to keep your bees happy. The British Beekeepers’ Association has all the resources you’ll need to get started. These include details of beekeeper training, where to buy equipment and how to look after your bees.
Once your hive is up and running you’ll be rewarded with 27kg of honey a year – that’s about 50 jars.