At the apiary we are always thinking about our bees’ needs, but this week is the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s Bees’ Needs Week and we are considering the needs of all bees and pollinators.
We have recently constructed a habitat for pollinators by reusing the Botanic Garden’s 20th anniversary sculpture and have built a dry stone wall at one of our apiaries by using waste materials. These will hopefully provide nesting sites and shelter for all sorts of creatures.
We know from our pollinator research undertaken at the Botanic Garden that honeybees have a preference for plants in the hedgerow and wild areas. The main honey crop comes from the brambles in the wilder parts of the Botanic Garden.
Our insects and pollinators are in decline, so what can we do to help?
Defra, together with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust have come up with a list of suggestions, they include:
- Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
- Let your garden grow wild
- Cut your grass less often
- Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots
- Think carefully about whether to use pesticides
Other suggestions include:
- Endeavour to grow plants that flower all year round. This will create more interest in your garden and provide essential food for active insects at a time when there may be little forage around.
- A wild area will provide shelter, nursery sites and places for creatures to overwinter with little disturbance.
- Grow a meadow, it will bring you so much pleasure, I have just seen my first bee beetle on an umbellar.
- Resist getting out the strimmer to keep the edges and corners of the garden tidy, give the pollinators space to nest in the spring and summer and leave the hollow stalks for creatures to hide and over winter
- Buy peat-free and insecticide-free plants for your garden. Look for the Saving Pollinators Assurance Scheme logo when looking for plants to buy when visiting the garden centre.
- Enjoy taking 10 minutes to stand and watch the creatures that enjoy your efforts, you will be surprised by the diversity and absolute fabulousness of what you discover!
Beekeeper and Ecosystems Trainer