Bumble BeeRetirement home
THE BUMBLEBEE RETIREMENT HOME
Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate. A recent study showed that a quarter of all known bee species haven’t been seen in 30 years. The bees that are left have had their work cut out for them, pollinating over 5,000 plants every day of their lives. Phew.
As flower fans we wanted to shout about the plight of bees, to raise awareness of how vital they are and to encourage everyone to take steps to protect them. So naturally we thought – a bumblebee retirement home!
MEET THE WORLD’S OABEES
Like honeybees, bumblebees also have a queen whose job it is to lay eggs and keep the colony thriving – and given she’s royalty she deserves the very best.
Our lovely residents were chaperoned by an expert beekeeper who kept a close eye on them to make sure they enjoyed their stay.
ALL ABOUT BRILLIANT BEES
Despite not being in the bustle of a colony, solitary bees are some of our hardest working pollinators. They distribute lots more pollen when they fly, a red mason bee can pollinate 120 times more flora than a honeybee.
Like lots of UK wildlife, bees travel to find food and nest sites, but with the disappearance of wild flower meadows the flowers and habitats bees need can be hard to come by. One ingenious solution are ‘B-lines’, interconnected wild spaces across the country for bees to travel across, sort of like an insect motorway. Have you been hearing lots of buzzing? Maybe you live on a B-line!
WHY BOTHER ABOUT BEES?
No bees = no dinner! By helping plants to grow, bees also help maintain habitats for all sorts of other animals. And of course, bees pollinate beautiful blooms, so we can thank them for our lovely flowers too.
HOW YOU CAN HELP THE BEES
HOW YOU CAN HELP THE BEES
Follow these simple steps
Open a bee hotel
These nifty hotels provide much-needed shelter for solitary bees. You can buy one, or if you’re feeling crafty you can use bamboo, or other hollow wooden tubes to build one. You’d be surprised how many bee-sized spaces you can pack in! Check out this guide from the Woodland Trust to making your very own bee hotel.
Plant flowers that bees love
Not all flowers are right for bees. When choosing your blooms opt for varieties with open flowers (so that you can see the central part of the flower) this will mean that the bees can easily access the pollen and nectar. Bees can also see the colour purple much better than any other colour, so lavender, alliums, and catmint are all great for a bee-friendly garden.
For more advice, check out our list of the 10 best plants for bees.
Ditch the chemicals
Most pesticides and fertilisers kill bees. In fact, the global decline in bees is partly due to our overuse of agricultural pesticides, especially neonicotinoids which harm all sorts of wildlife. Ditching the chemicals in your garden will help bees and other pollinators, and in turn other wildlife. If you’re worried about a tidal wave of ‘pests’, don’t panic, natural predators should arrive to help you. Find out more about pesticide free gardening.
Make a bee bath
Yup, bees need baths too! You can set up a little pool in your garden or on your balcony to help our flying friends stay hydrated. Bees will use water to dilute honey, to help with digestion, to keep the hive cool, and to feed the next generation of their colony. They’re simple to make, and help all kinds of bees.
Bee an advocate
We’re proud to shout about brilliant bees, not only are they marvels of nature but without them we would have no beautiful flowers to give our loved ones. They are a vital part of our delicate ecosystem, and we can never forget that. So if you want to help bees and our other pollinators, spread the word!