Bees are in trouble and the fact is that we need them just as much as they need us. Our countryside used to provide everything needed to sustain a healthy population but changes in agriculture have meant that bees are turning to our gardens for the habitat that they need. Many gardeners are aware of this and make a point of growing nectar rich plants and wild flowers during the summer. But we also need to take steps to provide help during the winter months.
The two key things we can do to help bees survive the winter is to provide them with both food and shelter.
We often enjoy mild spells during the winter and on such days’ bees will emerge and search for food. Ensuring that our gardens have one or more of the following selection of evergreen plants will provide the answer and will also give us some late autumn and winter interest:
Early flowering spring bulbs such as snowdrops and crocus together with primroses will also provide food until summer blooms arrives.
Many of the plants mentioned above will provide not only food but also shelter. In addition, other ways you can help include:
– Leaving grass longer during winter will provide shelter. So, on those milder days think twice before reaching for the mower. If you can’t resist the desire to neaten your lawn a little, please set the blades high.
– A log pile left undisturbed (or simply a small bundle of twigs and branches) will provide shelter for bees and other insects.
– Hollow stems of perennials and grasses provide perfect shelter for resting bees, so try to avoid being too tidy.
Providing winter food and shelter for bees will in turn help them to pollinate our crops next summer. A true partnership.