Bee mortality? Not with us! With these ten tips, you can turn your garden into a land of milk and honey for the busy bees without much effort.
Everyone is talking about bee mortality. More and more of the little insects are disappearing because they find neither food nor habitat in big cities and arable deserts. But many gardens are also not bee-friendly and offer neither a place to retreat nor a source of nutrients. Yet these industrious helpers are so important: not only do they produce the sweet honey that ends up on our bread in the morning – they are also one of the most important pollinators for many plants. But how can you help the bees? With these ten tips, you can turn your garden into a paradise for bees and thus make a contribution to stopping bee mortality.
Tip 1: Bee Friendly Plants
Roses, geraniums, and dahlias are beautiful to look at, but they are not at all bee-friendly plants. The plump flowers with the sweet scent promise the bee a rich meal, but in reality, they have little to no food to offer the hardworking helpers. Lavender, bellflower, and nasturtium, on the other hand, not only look good, but they also offer bees enough pollen and nectar. Those who not only rely on decorative plants but also want to derive a benefit from their garden, also have a wide selection of bee-friendly plants. Almost all fruit trees are true bee magnets, but also spice beds with thyme and numerous vegetables help the yellow-black heroes.
Tip 2: The Variety Makes It
It’s not just the type of plants that matter: If the bee only encounters flowering plants a few weeks a year, it suffers just as much hardship as if there were no plants at all. But the remedy is quite simple: If you keep early-, medium- and late-flowering plants, you not only have a dream of flowers in your garden throughout the year, but you also help the bees. In spring, crocuses bloom first and help bees recharge after the long winter. In autumn, on the other hand, heather varieties, stonecrop, and ivy contribute to the last meals. Asters are especially recommended: the autumn aster blooms even until the first frost. This provides the bees in your garden with a steady supply of food for months.
Tip 3: Get Rid Of Chemicals
Aphids, slugs, ants? Quickly get rid of the pests. As soon as the first insect pests appear, amateur gardeners also reach for insecticides. But what many forget: Beneficial insects such as the bee are often not spared from chemical pesticides, even if they should not be driven away. Anyone who has only a light infestation of pests should therefore first resort to home remedies. Often these already bring the desired success and get along thereby completely without collateral damage. If reaching for a pesticide is unavoidable, pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions. The more pests are combated with one agent, the greater the likelihood that bees will also suffer. Some companies also offer special sprays that are supposed to be particularly gentle on beneficial insects. Nevertheless, the use of chemicals should be reserved for emergencies and the agents should not be applied over a large area, but only to the plants that are really affected.
Tip 4: Pure Nature
Gravel bed, short lawn, and trimmed hedges are something beautiful. But whose flowerbed is too neat will hardly attract bees. After all, such meticulously maintained gardens usually offer hardly any retreats or food for insects. Nevertheless, the garden does not have to fall into disrepair. Even small corners and changes can have big effects. A bed full of wildflowers has its own charm and provides food for bees all summer long. Even small corners where lawns are not mowed or some weeds in the garden do not attract much attention but provide food and homes for wildlife. Deadwood and rock piles, in particular, should not be removed: They provide wild bees with a place for their nesting tubes so they can reproduce.
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Tip 5: A Little Water
A garden pond is not only beautiful, it is also a godsend for bees. Because what many forget: Bees also need a drink of water now and then. Especially in hot, dry months, a pond (no matter how small) can be a real lifesaver. And the freshwater not only offers something to drink: numerous water plants such as water lilies also provide refreshment and a meal for in between. By the way, if you want to be particularly bee-friendly, you should not keep any fish in your pond. No matter how peaceful the little swimmers look, many fish species will not turn down a bee as a snack.
Tip 6: The Bee Trough
A pond is too much work or simply not possible in your garden? Do you only have a balcony? You can still offer refreshment to the little helpers. With the simplest of means, the construction of a bee trough is accomplished in a few minutes. Simply fill a shallow bowl with water, put a few stones in it so that they stick out of the water surface and the mini pond is ready. The bees can land on the stones and take a few sips from there without the risk of falling into the water and drowning. By the way, the ideal place for such a bee watering hole is next to a flowering bed. This way, after their drink, the little animals do not have far to go to the next food.
Tip 7: Welcome To The Hotel
For wild bees, in particular, the biggest challenge is not finding food but finding the right place to live. Deadwood, niches in masonry, or piles of stones can no longer be found in many gardens and pose a major problem for the insects. The few remaining nesting sites are fiercely contested. An insect hotel can provide a simple remedy. This emergency home for homeless bees is no bigger than a birdhouse and can be easily homemade or purchased at many garden centers. However, it is easier to drill nest tubes into a few wooden blocks. With a diameter of 8 mm and a length of 8 cm, these small holes are the perfect retreat for mason bees, which do a good job, especially in orchards.
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Tip 8: How Does A Vegetable Garden Help?
A vegetable patch in our own garden not only rewards us with fresh and healthy food1 but is a true bee savior, even if it doesn’t seem so at first glance. Those who obtain food from their own garden buy less (or, as self-supporters, even no) food from industrial production. In the latter, fruits are often grown in large monocultures and treated with strong insecticides, as farmers depend on a good yield. For bees, however, these huge fields are a horror. In the home garden, on the other hand, potatoes are grown next to lettuce and cabbage and, as a rule, sprays are not used: Ideal conditions for the plants. If you don’t have your own vegetable garden, you can also support the organic farmer in the neighborhood. These also do not use chemical pesticides and thus protect our bees.
Tip 9: Good Neighborhood
In fact, many beekeepers have problems finding a place to put their baskets. People’s fear of the little animals’ stings prevents them from giving beekeepers and bees a chance. Many people also reject insect hotels because of this. Bees are very peace-loving animals and only sting in extreme danger because a sting always ends fatally for them. Many wild bees even have such small stings that they cannot even penetrate human skin. Fear of stings is therefore not necessary and a beehive in the garden also has some advantages: The harvest turns out larger due to better pollination, the environment is strengthened and a jar or two of honey from the grateful beekeeper as a fee for the space in the garden will certainly jump out.
Tip 10: Not Only The Garden
Not only in your own garden you can support our native bees: Instead of buying honey from the supermarket, rather reach for regional honey from the beekeeper. This way, your money doesn’t end up in the pocket of a large corporation but is reinvested in the bees. Always rinse your honey jars before throwing them in the glass container. Honey transmits many bee diseases and if bees find the sweet gold, these diseases can be introduced and wipe out entire colonies. For the same reason, weakened bees should never be fed honey. Instead, you can offer the bee some sugar water so that it has strength for the return flight. You should also refrain from using adhesive strips to catch flies (at least outside). In addition to the annoying pests, beneficial insects such as bees or ladybugs also stick to them and die.