*This is a collaborative post*
While the sun is shining and many of us are still staying at home much more than usual you might find yourself spending lots of time in the garden, enjoying the warm weather and trying to keep your kids entertained. This is a great time to get your children involved with gardening. There are so many fun and often cheap gardening activities to try, that also provide some great educational opportunities – perfect if you’re home educating or schooling from home. They might enjoy having a go at growing their own fruit and vegetables, or you could take on a project like making your garden super bug friendly or helping to save our honeybees.
Take a look at some of our bee friendly tips below, and for more gardening tips and ideas check out The Works brilliant range of discounted gardening books. The Urban Wildlife Gardener is filled with ideas for attracting bees, butterflies and other creatures into your garden or outdoor space all year round.
Save The Bees
Most of us are aware by now that due to a range of (mostly human caused) issues, our bee population is on the decline. Bees are such an important part of our eco system and are essential for food production with 3/4s of food crops world wide being part dependent on bees, so losing them would be a disaster for the entire world.
You could start by researching bees, learning why we need bees and how their role as pollinators benefits us all. Twinkl has a great resource pack aimed at KS1 children which includes fact files, the bee life cycle, and loads more bee related activities. Once you’ve done some work on what bees do and what they need to get the job done, your little ones might be able to come up with some ideas to help make your garden bee friendly.
How to Attract Bees To Your Garden
Plant Bee Friendly Plants
The first thing you might want to do is to make sure you’ve got some beautiful bee friendly plants in your garden, to provide nectar and pollen for your local bees. They are of course attracted to brightly coloured and nice smelling flowers, so maybe you could find some space for a little bee friendly flower patch. If you don’t have access to a garden you could also plant some bee friendly plants in a window box, or in a large pot to put on a porch or balcony. Bees love plants like lavender, roses, dahlias and buddleia, or you can buy packs of mixed bee friendly seeds. With a little planning you’ll be able to have bee friendly plants in your garden all year long.
Another way to make your garden super bee (and other creatures) friendly is by letting it grow wild. You could choose a section of your garden to leave untended to, and then just observe as the insects enjoy. Weeds and wildflowers will provide food for bees (dandelions are one of their favourites!), and mowing the grass less means bumblebees can make nests easier.
Build a Bug Hotel
Bug hotels are a brilliant way to attract some creepy crawlies into your garden, and help provide them with a safe home. You can often buy them from local garden centres, but there are loads of tutorials online to help you build your own which is great fun too.
Provide a Refreshing Bee Drink
Pollinating is hard work, and bees often get thirsty in the hot sun, so you could leave out a small basin of water to help bees have a quick drink. Make sure to include some stones in the water too so that the bees won’t drown.
More Ways to Help the Bees
There are many more things you can do to help save the UK bee population. By taking these small steps and educating ourselves on the important roll that bees have we can all have a positive impact on the eco system.
Help a Tired Bee
If you spot a bee that looks tired or in need of a boost then try offering it a little sugar water to give it some more energy. WWF recommends mixing two teaspoons of white granulated sugar with one teaspoon of water, then leaving it on a plate or dripping it onto a flower near the bee.
Avoid Using Pesticides
Using pesticides and herbicides (weed killer) in your garden can have a really harmful impact on the surrounding environment. Often it can end up polluting flowers and water supplies which can hurt local wildlife. If you need ways to keep pests away from your plants then look into more natural pest management.
Buy Sustainable Honey
Honey is delicious, but it’s important to try to only buy honey that has been sustainably harvested. Buy honey from local bee keepers to ensure that yours is as bee friendly as possible, and to help support their business. This also means less carbon emissions compared to honey mass produced and transported to supermarkets, and buying organic honey means the bees are pollinating in pesticide free areas.
Don’t Be Scared
Educate yourself and others about bees. Many people who have a fear of being stung don’t realise that bees have no desire to harm humans. Encourage friends and family to not be scared, and teach them to never harm an important bee. If a bee gets inside your home then carefully guide it out of a door or window, and if you spot one outside then admire it from a safe distance, and let it get on with it’s important work.