Bees. They live in hives with other bees and spend their time looking after their queen and making honey. Well actually no, not all of them. In the UK alone we have 267 species of bee, and 90% of these species are ‘solitary bees.’ Compared to their colonising honeybee cousins, these solitary bees are super pollinators and are responsible for around a third of all of the food we eat. But it’s not easy flying solo…
Predominantly due to loss of habitat, their numbers are declining fast and this poses a significant threat to our future food production. To lay their eggs, solitary bees need a safe place that they can nest, preferably near to plants from which they can collect pollen and nectar.
Feeling bad for the little guys? There are some ways to make your garden more bee friendly; planting more wild flowers generally is a great place to start but, if you really want to add the five star touch to your bee hospitality, open your very own bee hotel. The Beepot (available from Bunched Flowers) provides the perfect solution.
Owner of Bunched Flowers, Molly Bond, says, “Naturally bees love pollen rich flowers, a fragrant lavender or a pretty crocus would fit the bill nicely but the list is endless and readily available online, so pick yours and your guest’s favourite! Avoid pesticides and place in a predominately sunny position, ideally South facing, about a meter off the ground, and your Bee Hotel is open for business.”
As well as looking very cool, this concrete planter is a great way to make your garden or balcony more attractive to bees looking for a home. As solitary bees are non-aggressive and safe around children and pets (they also promise not to play loud music past 10pm) they’re the perfect lodger.
The Bee Hotels come in a range of sizes, with prices starting from £18. They are also available as a Bee Brick (without the planter). Ready to upgrade to a spa? Create a bee bath by filling a shallow dish with water and placing some stones inside so that the bees have somewhere to land.