Our Planet needs Plants and Pollinators!

Plants are the very basis of our world’s food-chain.

What’s a pollinator?

Pollinators are insects or animals that, through their daily activities, move pollen from the anthers (male) to the stigma (female) of the same plant species and so fertilises the flower’s eggs. The flower can then make seeds and create a new generation of plants.

Our bees are an endangered pollinator; subject to dangers such as viruses, fungi, parasites and attacks and competition from non-native invading insect species and our human inclination to avoid planting pollen-producing flowers in favour of unwelcoming species, put down astro-turf, composite (plastic) paving or decking or, as sadly featured in the news recently people maliciously destroying vibrant hives!

How you can help

  • Don’t use weed-killer
  • Don’t kill wild-flowers and, (thanks Elsa), ahem – “Let it Grow”!
  • Do plant some pots with herbs – you can use them and so can the bees
  • Do allow dandelions to flower – They are one of the bees first port-of-calls in the early spring. You can pull the heads off the dandelions after the pollen has been harvested, if you wish. Alternatively, go really hippy up-market and cultivate them for a food source for yourself as well https://www.bbc.com/food/dandelion 
  • Do put bee-friendly plants in your garden

Here’s a list of a few easy to grow flowers to attract our buzzy sisters…
Bee Balm – Lavender – Clover – Mint – Cotoneaster – Poppies – Geranium – Russian Sage -Honeysuckle – Sunflowers – Ivy  – Wildflowers – Marigolds and many more. 

Thirsty bees? Yes, bees drink (hic!)
A year-round dependable supply of water is essential for a honey-bee colony. They use water for cooling the hive by evaporation, for thinning honey to be fed to larva and de-crystallizing the honey in the winter months. They collect it as they need it as they don’t store it.

They prefer a safe place to land and then stand while drinking as they can’t swim and will drown. Avoid steep-sided containers. They also have habitual places to visit so you may find it a little while before your drinking station is discovered, (the bee waggle-dance of delight), enjoyed and thereafter visited frequently.

Your bee water-station tips:

  • An old saucepan filled with stones and sticks. Please ensure the pebbles/stones/marbles are pre-washed in hot water to remove any chemical contaminants before using them
  • A shallow saucer-type plant pot, a bowl, or similar and fill it with (pre-washed) marbles or stones/pebbles
  • A bucket with floating corks bobbing about on the water surface

Your bee water-source tips:
Bees don’t like clean tap-water and prefer a mineral-rich water source. They are attracted to the water source by scent rather than sight, so it’s okay to leave algae to form and allow fallen leaves to float around/sink into the bow

  • Add a little salt to your water
  • Use water from a water-butt, a pond or other natural sources
  • Create a scent by putting ground-down oyster shells into the water – Where from? I asked at my local sea-food shop and they were more than happy to help when I told them what it was for – or treat yourself to some!

Thanks Alison – RVN