Supporting bees in your garden

Our gardens and growing spaces are becoming increasingly important refuges for bees and other pollinators. Here are a few simple tips to help support bees in your garden:

  • Planting – most exotic flowers and bedding plants provide very little food for bees, but many of our native wildflowers (which look beautiful in the garden too!) are important sources of pollen and. These include:
    • Comfrey  Symphytum officinalis
    • Cowslip Primula veris.
    • Common poppy  Papaver spp
    • Cornflower, Centaurea cyanus
    • Fennel Foeniculum vulgare.
    • Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea.
    • Forget-Me-Not Myosotis arvensis.
    • Goldenrod Solidago spp
    • Greater knapweed, Centaurea scabiosa
    • Bee on Limnanthes
    • Mint Mentha spp
    • Stinking hellebore Helleborus foetidus.
    • Teasel Dipsacus fullonum.
    • Thistle Cirsium vulgare
    • Thrift  Armeria maritime.
    • Whorled clary Salvia verticillata
  • Gardening techniques – don’t be too tidy in the garden! Hollow stalks can provide winter shelter for pollinators and other insects, so do leave some as winter habitat
  • Natural Habitat – long grass, log piles and hedgerow plants help to provide shelter and protection for bees and other insects
  • Water – a shallow-edged water dish with pebbles in it can provide bees with somewhere to drink
  • Bug hotels – bug hotels provide homes for solitary bees and other insects. These are easy to make from old hollow sticks or bamboo canes, air-bricks, dry straw, logs with holes drilled into them, old carpet tied into rolls and other materials that can provide a dry habitat with plenty of space for insects to shelter in. old pallets can be used to make a frame, or you can make a smaller bug hotel using your own timber to make an open-sided frame.
  • Protect swarms – If you see a swarm of bees, contact the local authority or the police, who will contact a local beekeeper to collect the swarm and give it a safe new home.