Bees are threatened with extinction. Luckily, you can contribute to the life expectancy of bees! Bees are the best pollinators. Without them, there would be far fewer types of flowers, vegetables and fruit. A bee doesn’t just make a buzzing sound, they do a lot more than that! It’s certainly worth thinking about whether your garden is inviting for bees.
As soon as bees visit the plants in your garden, they are basically looking for two things:
- Nectar: Nectar is full of sugars and is the bees’ main source of energy
- Pollen: Pollen provides a balanced diet, and is full of proteins and fats
Many popular flower varieties are deliberately hybridized. In other words, the flowers are crossed with each other by a gardener. The reason for this? So that the flowers become resistant to diseases, the flower becomes larger and more colourful and the flower blooms longer.
Unfortunately, this hybridisation also reduces the production of nectar and pollen. In some cases this even makes the plant useless to bees and other pollinators. This is partly due to the fact that nectar is dependent on climatic conditions. Think of the temperature, humidity of the plant and soil.
7 tips for attracting more bees
Below we will explain some tips on how to easily attract more bees to your garden. This way you contribute to the right balance of nature!
1. Do not use any pesticides
Most pesticides are not selective. You kill not only the pests, but also the beneficial insects. If you should use a pesticide anyway, start with the least toxic pesticide and follow the instructions in the package insert. Under no circumstances use more than the dosage!
2. Only plant native plants
These are simply plants that occur naturally in the area. A banana plant or palm in your garden? Great fun! Only the Dutch bees don’t like it. The native plants are four times more attractive than exotic plants or flowers. These plants are also used to our climate and require less care. A win-win situation!
3. Choose different colours of flowers
Bees are anything but colour-blind. They are focused on colour, so that they can easily find nectar and pollen. Blue, purple, violet, white and yellow are colours that are very attractive to bees.
4. Plant flowers in groups
Flowers grouped in groups of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered throughout the garden. If space permits, make groups of plants or flowers of at least one and a half metres by one and a half metres.
5. Plant flowers of different shapes and sizes
There are thousands of different types of bees. They are all different in size, have different tongue lengths and feed on all kinds of flowers. More diversity means that more bees can benefit.
6. Provide a diversity of plants that bloom throughout the season
Most bee species feed on different plants throughout their life cycle. By allowing several plant species to bloom at the same time and a sequence of plants that bloom in different seasons, you can support a diverse range of bee species.
7. Put flowers in places in the garden where bees like to visit.
Bees prefer sunny spots in the garden. They also like to be sheltered from strong winds. Those colourful flowers in the shade? They are not interesting enough for bees.
The above tips will make your garden a lot friendlier to bees. By definition, bees are peace-loving creatures! They will only sting if they are directly threatened. So you don’t have to worry about that!