1. Plant up
Planting more flowers for our bees is a great place to start when encouraging them.
Here are a few flowers that attract the bee’s attention: Phacelia tanacetfolia, Catmint (Nepta racemose) and Lavender.
Avoid using flowers that have too many layers – a single style flower is more likely to attract the bees in, as it is easier for them to get the pollen and nectar they need.
2. Do not disturb
Avoid interfering with any natural bee nesting sites.
These can include the base of hedges and long grass, which are both typical favourites of bumble bees.
Any bald patches in your lawn make a great nesting spot for solitary bees, as they enjoy making nests by burrowing here.
If you see a small hole with mini mounds of dirt around it – you probably have a solitary bee nest site there.
3. Man-made nests
The solitary bee tends to be a fan of man-made nesting sites.
One way you can encourage them is by creating a ‘bee hotel’ by getting a small log and drilling different size holes in it.
Alternatively you can purchase one online or at your local garden centre, or you can get an old tin or bottle and pack it with drinking straws.
4. Let it Grow
Leave cutting the grass for a little longer, this will allow bee-friendly plants such as Clover and Knapweed to grow.
If you are going to use pesticides, take care not to spray them near bee hot-spots such as flowers and typical nesting grounds.
Finally, become a beekeeper – urban beekeeping is on the rise, proving that you don’t have to live in the country to manage a colony of bees in your garden.
Images used that are not my own are royalty free and can be found at:
Life of Pix – Collecting Pollen by Leeroy
Unsplash.com – Lavender by Annie Spratt
Flickr –Pesticides by Day Donaldson
Flickr – Check your Bees!! by Don Hankins