Do these to help the bees
If you want bees, then do these…
At Simon The Beekeeper, we are first and foremost a beekeeping business and are here to cater for your beekeeping needs. However, we realise that it’s not a hobby for everyone – and that’s okay. If beekeeping isn’t for you, there are other things that can be done to help our buzzy friends.
Here’s a quick run down of various things you can do to help the bee population and the environment:
- Become a beekeeper
Okay, so we had to mention it because that’s what we’re all about. It’s an interesting and enjoyable hobby that gets you out and about in nature. There’s nothing quite like working with bees and you can’t help but be fascinated by them.
We won’t go into too much detail here as our whole blog will be dedicated to the various factors that go into beekeeping – so keep your eyes peeled.
- Do your bit to protect swarms
A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.
Swarming is a completely natural part of honeybee colonies growing in size and looking for somewhere bigger to live in order to accommodate them. Just like we like to up-size our houses, bees too have their own way of upgrading on their property ladder.
If you see a swarm, don’t be alarmed and don’t disturb it unless you are beekeeper and know what you’re doing. The bees don’t tend to be aggressive, unless they are made to be – so just leave them ‘bee’ and contact your local authority or a local beekeeper who will come and take the swarm away for re-homing.
There's also an interesting article from London's expert pest control company, Integrum Service, educating people about how important bees are and why they always try to reject any bee removal jobs. Read it here.
- Create a bee friendly garden
It’s a sad fact that our countryside is not varied enough to give the bees what they need. There seems to be more and more huge fields dedicated to one single crop rather than offering a variety. Therefore, we have the power to create a bee paradise in each of our gardens (that other pollinators will thrive in too).
Bees need a variety of plants for food, from shrubs and herbs to grasses and trees. It doesn’t matter if there are space restrictions, even the smallest of gardens can help our pollinators. In fact, having a window box or a hanging basket is of great value and you’re helping to do your bit. Not forgetting that bees love herbs too, so that little pot of lavender you have, or rosemary or sage – the bees will thank you for it.
Bees like flowers where the petals are arranged in open form so they don’t have to work too hard to get the pollen and nectar, which is what they want.
Obviously each garden is different and you can spend as little or as much time on it as you like. You certainly don’t have to be an expert gardener to help. There are plenty of places to get ‘bee friendly wildflower kits’ and once sewn into the soil and watered for the first few days, these tend to look after themselves.
Bumblebee on a Phacelia flower
For a donation, you can get a Bee Saver Kit from Friends of the Earth which includes a packet of wildflower seed amongst other goodies.
- Guerilla gardening
Guerrilla Gardening is ‘the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to utilise, such as an abandoned site, an area that is not being cared for, or private property.’ (wikipedia)
Simply put, guerrilla gardening is finding areas such as derelict wasteland, abandoned tree pits or planters and choosing to add a bit of much needed colour and diversity for the pollinators and the environment. If you look around, you’ll be surprised how many areas you will spot that have just been forgotten about.
You can buy seed bombs and other various types of seed grenades that come with simple instructions. Then you just simply throw them at the spaces you have decided need some love and wait for the magic to bloom.
It’s a simple act, but a very valuable one.
- Buy or make a bee hotel
Due to things such as intensive farming and the use of pesticides, a huge amount of the bee’s natural habitat has been lost. If you want to help create a bee friendly space for solitary bees then why not buy or build a bee hotel? There’s over 200 different species in the United Kingdom and they all need individual nests.
Bee hotels can be as small or as large as you choose. You can see below a small bright yellow one hanging on a garden fence and in comparison, a huge bee house at Coombe Abbey in Coventry (just if you needed a bit of inspiration).
As the solitary bee doesn’t belong to a hive and has no queen to protect, they are very docile indeed. You can get right up close to watch them at work, bringing back leaves twice their size to block up the holes where they have laid their eggs. It’s really fascinating to watch and a great way to introduce children to the ways of the solitary bee.
- Buy local honey
Support your local beekeepers and buy local honey. It tastes so much better than that from a supermarket as it hasn’t been treated to give it a longer shelf life. The taste of local honey will reflect the flora of the local area. Yummy!
- Read, read and read…
We can’t stress this enough. We have the internet at the tip of our fingers. Information is easily accessible and growing every day.
It’s our responsibility to look after our beloved bees. Whether that be through beekeeping, making a bee hotel or throwing seeds at an empty space to create much needed flower diversity.
Whatever you choose to do, do something.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch.
You can find more information and input from Simon about the importance of bees in this Twinkl blog: The Importance of Bees: A Bee-ginners Guide.