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Bees love plants and flowers
Over the last number of years there has been a significant decline in the number of pollinators that visit our garden. This has happened for a number of reasons but one in particular is the reduction in wildflowers. Our gardens should be recognised as important habitats for butterflies and bees, where they can find sources of pollen and nectar.
Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred from one flower to another, allowing flowers to become fertilised and able to produce seeds and fruits. In some plants pollen and seeds are spread by the wind but the majority of plants require insects to transport the pollen.
Even our home-grown fruits rely on insects for pollination such as apples, plums, gooseberries, strawberries and cherries. Flowers provide insects with two rich sources of food – nectar and pollen. Nectar contains sugar and provides insects with energy while pollen grains contain protein and oils.
How you can attract pollinating insects to your garden
- Furnish you garden with flowers and plants that attract pollinating bees from early spring to late autumn.
- Don’t use pesticides on plants when they are in flower.
- Open flowers are much better especially for bumblebees as they have shorter tongues.
- Make sure that the plants you select bloom at different times over the season so that bees have something to forage on throughout the season, which for some bees may extend from April until October.
- Native plants are usually best for native bees, and can be used in both wild areas and gardens.
- Chose several colors of flowers. Bees have good color vision to help them find flowers and the nectar and pollen they offer. Flower colors that particularly attract bees are blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow.
- Plant flowers in clumps. Flowers clustered into clumps of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the habitat patch.
These are important flowers for Bumble Bees.
Flowers & Plants for Bees & Butterflies
The Happy Bee Box from Tom Chambers will encourage wildlife to the garden by providing cavities to shelter solitary bees, ladybirds and lacewings. Ladybirds and lacewings help to control greenfly and other aphids which damage plants in the garden. The Happy Bee Box incorporates a thick rope hanger