5 Ways To Attract Bees To Your Garden
As we come into springtime, the bees are buzzing around in celebration! If you are an avid gardener, you will want to welcome these visitors with open arms. Let’s look at some of the ways that you can attract more bees into the garden for spring and all year round.
Why would you want to attract bees to the garden?
Many people fear bee stings and think that bees are aggressive. But truthfully, when bees are visiting their local garden, they have no interest in people! They are there for the flowers.
The good news is that while they are doing their work, they are making your garden more beautiful. Bees will pollinate many of the plants in your garden, so your plants will produce more flowers throughout the season.
How to attract bees into the garden
Get to know your local bees
We tend to think of bees as being one species. But there are over 20,000 known species of bee worldwide, and over 1,600 identified species in Australia alone. So your local bees will likely have their own habits and preferences.
Start by simply watching your local bees, and notice which plants they like. You can even follow them around to see where their home is, and which flowers they are willing to travel for. If you want to learn more about your local species of bee, contact your local apiarist.
Avoid pesticide use
Unfortunately, pesticides don’t just kill off pest insects. They also kill insects that are beneficial for your garden, including bees. It’s particularly important to avoid pesticide use when plants are blooming, as this puts bees at a higher risk.
If you want to look into ways to prevent pests without harming bees, contact your local nursery or permaculture specialist for advice.
Make a home for your bees
Did you know that native Australian bees tend to be much more solitary than the European honeybee? They will often create their homes in pre-made environments like hollow logs, burrows and tree holes.
But you can encourage them to make a home in a bee hotel. These pre-made wooden homes can be placed in your yard to entice the local bees into staying a little longer. You can purchase them from local nurseries, or you can look up tutorials for how to make your own online.
Make sure you place their new home somewhere sheltered and close to some flowers, so they can get comfortable.
Plant bee-friendly plants together
Bees will be drawn to flowers that are in clumps of one metre or more. So if you can, plant your bee-attracting plants in clumps around your garden. Want to keep your garden simple? Lavender and borage are popular with bees and tend to grow to 1m+.
Bees require pollen all year round, which means they need flowers. So to nurture them, you’ll want to have at least a few plants that flower in each season. Head to your local nursery and pick out a couple of varieties for each season.
Provide some water for your new friends
Now that you’re bringing bees in, you’ll want to make sure that they have some water. This is particularly important during hotter weather. Small bodies of water such as a birdbath with some pebbles or wet sand can be a fantastic source of water for bees.
However, it’s important to avoid large amounts of open water. Bees can drown if they don’t have a way to get out! So if you do have a larger source of water such as a pond, a large birdbath or a water feature, adjust it to be bee-friendly. You can add some rocks or pebbles, larger sticks or any other object into the water that they can climb on.
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