Over the last 10 years, there has been a sharp drop in the numbers of honeybee colonies in the UK and worldwide. Declining bee colonies may not sound like a serious problem, but it will have a massive impact on agriculture, almost every crop in the world, either directly or indirectly, relies on pollination from bees.
Here are 8 simple things we all can do to help save our bees at home.
- Create a herb garden. Bees are especially keen on angelica, chives, fennel, lavender, thyme, mint, rosemary, marjoram and oregano. If you’re stuck for space, try planting some on your balcony or patio, in window boxes or pots – the bees will thank you for it!
- Attract bees to your garden by filling it with vibrant, native, bee-friendly plants. Choose a range of flower shapes to suit different bee species, as their foraging methods and feeding techniques can vary. Focus on cottage garden flowers, e.g. lupins, hollyhocks, delphiniums, foxgloves, wallflowers, roses and honeysuckle. Your local garden centre will advise on planting for honey bees.
- Ensure year-round planting so bees have a source of flowers in the winter.
- Let your lawn grow (or at least part of it). Wildflowers rich in pollen such as dandelions, clover and daisies provide a much-needed nectar supply, especially in early spring.
- Create a bee bath. Fill a shallow bird bath or a small dish or bowl with clean water and arrange pebbles, twigs and stones inside so that they poke out of the water. Bees will land on them to drink the water as they take a break from foraging and pollinating. (Never give bees artificial sweeteners or honey, which can contain traces of viruses that may be passed on).
- Avoid the use of pesticides. Bee-killing chemicals are not only found in industrial practices, but also in many household insecticides too. Make sure to use only certified organic seeds, weed-killers and insect repellents.
- Provide a bee house for solitary bees: make one yourself from a block of wood with holes drilled in it, or bamboo, or buy one.
- Support the honey industry by purchasing honey, especially from your local beekeeper.
Minerva Scientific is a class leading independent laboratory providing high quality service and support to the honey industry. Our expertise covers a comprehensive and diverse portfolio of tests to meet the fast-moving demands of the industry.
Visit our website www.minervascientific.co.uk for more information.
CEO Minerva Scientific Ltd.
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