The phrase ‘Busy Bees’ couldn’t be more true, as bees are often very busy pollinating 35% of our food crops. But all that hard work can make for a very tired bee, and creating a space where they can set up home and refuel can make a huge difference to their population!
Find out how to attract more bees to your garden and help them out by building a bee hotel, providing water and planting bee-friendly flora and other wildflowers to attract pollinators.
A bee hotel in your garden will attract bees
You may be wondering why bees would need somewhere to stay when they are very efficient at making their own beehives, but solitary bees need somewhere to breed and thrive, making bee and insect hotels the perfect environment to do this in. Mason, Leafcutter, and Yellow-faced bees use the holes in their bee hotels to lay eggs. These bees are not aggressive and aren’t harmful to children or pets.
There are lots of tutorials on how to make a bee hotel, but from our friends at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, nesting tubes should be 15cm long at a minimum and 2-10mm in diameter and have a solid back, i.e. not opened-ended on both sides. These tubes must be easy to remove and clean, as this will keep your bees returning. You can also buy bee hotels, but you may wish to look out for such things as nesting tube length etc., to ensure the one you purchase will encourage bees to nest.
Did you know?
We have over 250 species of bees in the UK, 24 of these are bumblebee species, one honeybee, and the rest are solitary bees. This means that solitary bees can account for some 90% of our bee species!
Once your bee hotel is ready, it should be located in an area with full sun, 1 metre from the ground and in an area with some protection from the weather to avoid the nest getting damp. If you can, you may also want to locate it in an area where you can see the buzzing hive of activity taking place!
Bees get thirsty just like us so having water or a special ‘bee bath’ will help them. Rainwater is sufficient, so you won’t need to replace it regularly for bees to benefit from it. Get a shallow-walled dish and place plenty of stones or rocks in it to allow them to climb in and out should they need to. And place it near your bee hotel or near garden flora.
Did you know?
97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, depleting nectar availability for bees.
Plant wildflowers to attract bees to your garden!
Bees are BIG fans of bright, sweet-smelling, bell-like or open-petalled flowers, so naturally, planting these will attract more bees to your garden. We’ve made a list of 10 of bees' favourite wildflowers so you know what to plant, or alternatively, you can try out our Bees Please mix brimming with wildflowers that bees can’t get enough of. If you’d like to know how to plant wildflowers for wildlife or more information on how to attract bees to your garden, you can find out more here.